Why Liberalism is a Sham 1

[Keith: This is the best critique of liberalism I have seen to date. This is the critique I would write.]

by Camille Paglia

http://www.salon.com/opinion/paglia/2009/09/09/healthcare/index.html

Sept. 9, 2009 | What a difference a month makes! When my last controversial column posted on Salon in the second week of August, most Democrats seemed frozen in suspended animation, not daring to criticize the Obama administration’s bungling of healthcare reform lest it give aid and comfort to the GOP. Well, that ice dam sure broke with a roar. Dissident Democrats found their voices, and by late August even the liberal lemmings of the mainstream media, from CBS to CNN, had drastically altered their tone of reportage, from priggish disdain of the town hall insurgency to frank admission of serious problems in the healthcare bills as well as of Obama’s declining national support. 

But this tonic dose of truth-telling may be too little too late. As an Obama supporter and contributor, I am outraged at the slowness with which the standing army of Democratic consultants and commentators publicly expressed discontent with the administration’s strategic missteps this year. I suspect there had been private grumbling all along, but the media warhorses failed to speak out when they should have — from week one after the inauguration, when Obama went flat as a rug in letting Congress pass that obscenely bloated stimulus package. Had more Democrats protested, the administration would have felt less arrogantly emboldened to jam through a cap-and-trade bill whose costs have made it virtually impossible for an alarmed public to accept the gargantuan expenses of national healthcare reform. (Who is naive enough to believe that Obama’s plan would be deficit-neutral? Or that major cuts could be achieved without drastic rationing?) 

By foolishly trying to reduce all objections to healthcare reform to the malevolence of obstructionist Republicans, Democrats have managed to destroy the national coalition that elected Obama and that is unlikely to be repaired. If Obama fails to win reelection, let the blame be first laid at the door of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who at a pivotal point threw gasoline on the flames by comparing angry American citizens to Nazis. It is theoretically possible that Obama could turn the situation around with a strong speech on healthcare to Congress this week, but after a summer of grisly hemorrhaging, too much damage has been done. At this point, Democrats’ main hope for the 2012 presidential election is that Republicans nominate another hopelessly feeble candidate. Given the GOP’s facility for shooting itself in the foot, that may well happen. 

This column has been calling for heads to roll at the White House from the get-go. Thankfully, they do seem to be falling faster — as witness the middle-of-the-night bum’s rush given to “green jobs” czar Van Jones last week — but there’s a long way to go. An example of the provincial amateurism of current White House operations was the way the president’s innocuous back-to-school pep talk got sandbagged by imbecilic support materials soliciting students to write fantasy letters to “help” the president (a coercive directive quickly withdrawn under pressure). Even worse, the entire project was stupidly scheduled to conflict with the busy opening days of class this week, when harried teachers already have their hands full. Comically, some major school districts, including New York City, were not even open yet. And this is the gang who wants to revamp national healthcare? 

Why did it take so long for Democrats to realize that this year’s tea party and town hall uprisings were a genuine barometer of widespread public discontent and not simply a staged scenario by kooks and conspirators? First of all, too many political analysts still think that network and cable TV chat shows are the central forums of national debate. But the truly transformative political energy is coming from talk radio and the Web — both of which Democrat-sponsored proposals have threatened to stifle, in defiance of freedom of speech guarantees in the Bill of Rights. I rarely watch TV anymore except for cooking shows, history and science documentaries, old movies and football. Hence I was blissfully free from the retching overkill that followed the deaths of Michael Jackson and Ted Kennedy — I never saw a single minute of any of it. It was on talk radio, which I have resumed monitoring around the clock because of the healthcare fiasco, that I heard the passionate voices of callers coming directly from the town hall meetings. Hence I was alerted to the depth and intensity of national sentiment long before others who were simply watching staged, manipulated TV shows. 

Why has the Democratic Party become so arrogantly detached from ordinary Americans? Though they claim to speak for the poor and dispossessed, Democrats have increasingly become the party of an upper-middle-class professional elite, top-heavy with journalists, academics and lawyers (one reason for the hypocritical absence of tort reform in the healthcare bills). Weirdly, given their worship of highly individualistic, secularized self-actualization, such professionals are as a whole amazingly credulous these days about big-government solutions to every social problem. They see no danger in expanding government authority and intrusive, wasteful bureaucracy. This is, I submit, a stunning turn away from the anti-authority and anti-establishment principles of authentic 1960s leftism. 

How has “liberty” become the inspirational code word of conservatives rather than liberals? (A prominent example is radio host Mark Levin’s book “Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto,” which was No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list for nearly three months without receiving major reviews, including in the Times.) I always thought that the Democratic Party is the freedom party — but I must be living in the nostalgic past. Remember Bob Dylan’s 1964 song “Chimes of Freedom,” made famous by the Byrds? And here’s Richie Havens electrifying the audience at Woodstock with “Freedom! Freedom!” Even Linda Ronstadt, in the 1967 song “A Different Drum,” with the Stone Ponys, provided a soaring motto for that decade: “All I’m saying is I’m not ready/ For any person, place or thing/ To try and pull the reins in on me.” 

But affluent middle-class Democrats now seem to be complacently servile toward authority and automatically believe everything party leaders tell them. Why? Is it because the new professional class is a glossy product of generically institutionalized learning? Independent thought and logical analysis of argument are no longer taught. Elite education in the U.S. has become a frenetic assembly line of competitive college application to schools where ideological brainwashing is so pandemic that it’s invisible. The top schools, from the Ivy League on down, promote “critical thinking,” which sounds good but is in fact just a style of rote regurgitation of hackneyed approved terms (“racism, sexism, homophobia”) when confronted with any social issue. The Democratic brain has been marinating so long in those clichés that it’s positively pickled. 

Next page: Let’s get the hell out of Afghanistan!

 
Throughout this fractious summer, I was dismayed not just at the self-defeating silence of Democrats at the gaping holes or evasions in the healthcare bills but also at the fogginess or insipidity of articles and Op-Eds about the controversy emanating from liberal mainstream media and Web sources. By a proportion of something like 10-to-1, negative articles by conservatives were vastly more detailed, specific and practical about the proposals than were supportive articles by Democrats, which often made gestures rather than arguments and brimmed with emotion and sneers. There was a glaring inability in most Democratic commentary to think ahead and forecast what would or could be the actual snarled consequences — in terms of delays, denial of services, errors, miscommunications and gross invasions of privacy — of a massive single-payer overhaul of the healthcare system in a nation as large and populous as ours. It was as if Democrats live in a utopian dream world, divorced from the daily demands and realities of organization and management. 

But dreaming in the 1960s and ’70s had a spiritual dimension that is long gone in our crassly materialistic and status-driven time. Here’s a gorgeous example: Bob Welch’s song “Hypnotized.” which appears on Fleetwood Mac’s 1973 album “Mystery to Me.” (The contemplative young man in this recent video is not Welch.) It’s a peyote dream inspired by Carlos Castaneda’s fictionalized books: “They say there’s a place down in Mexico/ Where a man can fly over mountains and hills/ And he don’t need an airplane or some kind of engine/ And he never will.” This exhilarating shamanistic vision (wonderfully enhanced by Christine McVie’s hymnlike backing vocal) captures the truth-seeking pilgrimages of my generation but also demonstrates the dangerous veering away from mundane social responsibilities. If the left is an incoherent shambles in the U.S., it’s partly because the visionaries lost their bearings on drugs, and only the myopic apparatchiks and feather-preening bourgeois liberals are left. (I addressed the drugs cataclysm in “Cults and Cosmic Consciousness: Religious Vision in the American 1960s” in the Winter 2003 issue of Arion.) 

Having said all that about the failures of my own party, I am not about to let Republicans off the hook. What a backbiting mess the GOP is! It lacks even one credible voice of traditional moral values on the national stage and is addicted to sonorous pieties of pharisaical emptiness. Republican politicians sermonize about the sanctity of marriage while racking up divorces and sexual escapades by the truckload. They assail government overreach and yet support interference in women’s control of their own bodies. Advanced whack-a-mole is clearly needed for that yammering smarty-pants Newt Gingrich, who is always so very, very pleased with himself but has yet to produce a single enduring thought. The still inexplicably revered George W. Bush ballooned our national deficits like a drunken sailor and clumsily exacerbated the illegal immigration debate. And bizarrely, the hallucinatory Dick Cheney, a fake-testosterone addict who spooked Bush into a pointless war, continues to be lauded as presidential material. 

Which brings us to Afghanistan: Let’s get the hell out! While I vociferously opposed the incursion into Iraq, I was always strongly in favor of bombing the mountains of Afghanistan to smithereens in our search for Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida training camps. But committing our land forces to a long, open-ended mission to reshape the political future of that country has been a fool’s errand from the start. Every invader has been frustrated and eventually defeated by that maze-like mountain terrain, from Alexander the Great to the Soviet Union. In a larger sense, outsiders will never be able to fix the fate of the roiling peoples of the Near East and Greater Middle East, who have been disputing territorial borderlines and slaughtering each other for 5,000 years. There is too much lingering ethnic and sectarian acrimony for a tranquil solution to be possible for generations to come. The presence of Western military forces merely inflames and prolongs the process and creates new militias of patriotic young radicals who hate us and want to take the war into our own cities. The technological West is too infatuated with easy fixes. But tribally based peoples think in terms of centuries and millennia. They know how to wait us out. Our presence in Afghanistan is not worth the price of any more American lives or treasure. 

In response to persistent queries, I must repeat: No, I do not have a Facebook page, nor am I a “friend” on anyone else’s Facebook. Nor do I Twitter. This Salon column is my sole Web presence. Whatever doppelgänger Camille Paglias are tripping the light fantastic out there (as in the haunted bus-station episode of “The Twilight Zone”), they aren’t me!

Updated News Digest September 13, 2009 Reply

Why Read the Sunday Papers When You Can Read AttacktheSystem.Com!

Quotes of the Week:

“The high-pitched activist liberals I collided with in college are living out one prolonged shit test that has its own ontological area code. I recall the effect of their overall swagger and posture to be a dare, to anyone who suggested any degree of serious hesitation about gay marriage, mass immigration, racial egalitarianism, or whatever. I wasn’t self-consciously right-wing when I first encountered this but I couldn’t resist the challenge and still can’t. Cocky liberals might intimidate someone with their knowing bluster, but it won’t be me. I was going to call their bluff wherever and whenever I could. My instinctive response was to say, “Look, you don’t have the grasp on truth you pretend to and your moral scruples are exaggerated. You’re not saving any lives or making the world a better place by raging against homophobia and imaginary Nazis. You’re just striking a pose to impress yourself and others. I’m unimpressed.”

                                                                                     –Evan McLaren

Is America Coming Apart? by Pat Buchanan

The American Left: Rebel Without a Cause by Thomas N. Naylor

Indefensible Nation by Paul Craig Roberts

Put Not Your Faith in Princes by Kevin Carson

The Weaponization of Human Rights by Chase Madar

Europe’s Complicity in Evil by Paul Craig Roberts

The Name That Must Not Be Mentioned by Paul Gottfried

Eight Years Later by Stonewall

The Men That Make the Empire Robert Parry interviewed by Scott Horton

Creativity As the Lifeblood of Freedom by Francois Tremblay

Obama’s Big Speech-Give Us a F….ing Break! by Alexander Cockburn

I Am Barack Obama’s Political Prisoner Now by Leonard Peltier

“Repeal the 21st Century” Anthony Gregory interviewed by Scott Horton

Military Brass Has George Will’s Back by Jack Hunter

How to Fight Deflation by Mike Whitney

The New Segregation by Grant Havers

Watergate and Modern Scandals by Saul Landau

The Conservative “Corruption” Problem by Dylan Hales

Disgraceful Democrats  by Russell Mokhiber

Beware Petraeus: The General Who Would Be King Jeff Huber interviewed by Scott Horton

This Is How Its Done by Kevin DeAnna

The State of U.S. National Security by Brian M Downing

Pat Buchanan and 9-11 by Jack Hunter

Will Obama Seize the Internet? Declan McCullagh interviewed by Scott Horton

Afghan Firefight by Franklin C. Spinney

Pro-Life Demonstrator Murdered in Michigan: Is a Civil War Coming? by Tom Piatak

A Solution to the Health Care Problem by Charles R. Larson

Traficant vs AIPAC by Richard Spencer

The Debtors’ Revolt Begins

Call It the “Peter Brimelow Rule” by Robert Stacy McCain

Israeli Ads Warn Against Marrying Non-Jews by Jonathan Cook

Encountering Gottfried by Ilana Mercer

Norman’s War by Paul Gottfried

Lies and the Lying Liars Who Lie Them by Jack Hunter

Willful Blindness by Richard Spencer

Hate America? Count Me Out! by Chuck Baldwin

Ten Lessons of 9-11 by Sheldon Richman

Obama Equals Bush on Steroids by Bede

Come to Vermont, Help Us Secede, and Escape the Empire by Thomas N. Naylor

Dominique Venner’s Ernst Junger: Another European Destiny by Michael O’Meara

Food Among the Ruins by Mark Dowie

When Satire Becomes Reality  by Justin Raimondo

Ronald Reagan’s Torture by Robert Parry

How Afghanistan Became the Graveyard of the Russian Empire by Dave Crouch

The Evils of Preventive Detention by Glenn Greenwald

The Continual Selling of the Afghan War by William Blum

Let Poppies Grow; Bring Troops Home by Al Neuharth

Obama’s Leading the U.S. Into a Hellish Quagmire by Mark Ames

Puff Daddies by Daniel Engber

Commercial Products Before the Drug War

Boston Tea Party 

“The Italians were called wops, the Jews were called hymies, I was of course a greaseball, and every Hispanic was a spic. Well, we all got along famously! It was rough, but it was fine.”

                                                                        -Taki Theodoracopulos

Weekly Reading of Scripture

Anarcho-Syndicalism by Rudolf Rocker

On Anarchy by Dyer Lum

The Radical Individualism of Paul Goodman by Richard Wall

Tolstoy the Peculiar Christian Anarchist by Alexandre Christoyannopoulos

“The Kingdom of God Is Within You” by Count Leo Tolstoy

Constructive Policy Vs Destructive War by Marie Louise Berneri

A Nation of Sheep, Ruled by Wolves, Owned by Pigs

The Revolution Within Anarchism 

Forty Years in the Wilderness? 

Liberty and Populism: Building An Effective Resistance Movement for North America

On Overcoming Race and Class Reductionism in the Anarchist Milieu 1

from Ed D’Angelo (Anytime Now Discussion Forum)

I think racial politics in the anarchist movement derives from the broader American Left, for which race has been a key issue since the abolitionists of the pre-Civil War period. Class based analysis is not common in American politics, especially in the present day. Most Americans view themselves as middle class, which is not entirely inaccurate. The American working class is either invisible or is seen only through the lens of race, as if to be working class can be equated with being a “minority” (ie, non-white or non-native born). Although a class struggle perspective is found in the revolutionary anarchist tradition (Bakunin and the communist anarchists), I think the larger source of class struggle perspectives is the Marxist tradition, which is relatively weak in the USA. Even some Marxist parties, such as the Revolutionary Communist Party, a Maoist Party with roots in SDS and the 60s New Left, is more focused on race (particularly the black race) than class (or confuses the two). In this case, it’s clear that the preoccupation with blacks derives from the Civil Rights struggles of the 50s and 60s. 
 
So, racial reductionism in the anarchist movement is due, I think, to the influence of the larger American Left, and beyond that, American culture in general, on the American anarchist movement. As radical as we might think we are, we are all still products of our cultures.
 
Because the American working class, at least since WW II, has been so conservative –coopted by business unions in the early post-war years and by consumerism, suburban sprawl, etc. — anarchism in the USA has had little appeal to workers. Most anarchists in the USA are bohemians with roots in the (largely, but not exclusively, white) college educated middle class. For them, anarchism is not about their own struggle for liberation and autonomy, but is a moral mission to help the oppressed other. And in mainstream American culture, the face of oppression is black. So it’s not surprising that you would find many white anarchists with a moral concern for racial issues. This tendency in the anarchist movement goes back at least to the 1940s, when anarchists were among the first to participate in the early Civil Rights movement.
 
What can we do? The only way to free yourself from the past, I think, is to become aware of how it continues to shape your views, even when it is past. So we can try to educate ourselves and others about this history, and how circumstances have changed. The same can be said for the influence of mainstream culture. The more we become critically aware of mainstream culture, the more we can free ourselves of it. I think it’s a good idea to turn off the mainstream media, too, because to some extent it’s impossible to immunize yourself against it, no matter how sharp your critical reasoning skills are.
 
We can also educate ourselves about anarchist history. In this respect, I am finding Eugene Lunn’s book, “Prophet of Community: The Romantic Socialism of Gustav Landauer,” to be particularly interesting, because Landauer’s anarchism is a prime example of an anarchism that is not class or race based, that was explicitly formulated in opposition to Marxist currents, and that is based in the individual spirit (understood as a mystical microcosm of the community and volk). Landauer was a pacifist and evolutionary anarchist who believed that the road to anarchism is paved with the construction of voluntary cooperative communties within the interstice so the old, rather than in the violent overthrow of existing structures. Violent revolution, Landauer would have argued, is impossible because authority is sustained by the voluntary servitude of the oppressed who would reconstruct oppressive structures once the old ones were destroyed — as occurred in the Soviet Union. What is needed is a cultural revolution not a political one.

Updated News Digest September 6, 2009

Why Read the Sunday Papers When You Can Read AttacktheSystem.Com!

Quotes of the Week:

“As political and economic freedom diminishes, sexual trends compensatingly to increase. And the dictator…will do well to encourage that freedom in conjunction with the freedom to daydream under the influence of dope, movies, and the radio, it will help to reconcile his subjects to the servitude which is their fate.”

                                                      -Aldous Huxley (Left-Libertarians take note)

“I was once a big advocate of North West Migration back in the eighties when it was referred to as The Northwest Territorial Imperative. This was before I actually visited the Northwest and realized how freaking cold it gets up there. I feel that if people are going to fight, actually kill and die for land, that it should be the most hospitable and fertile land available. Also after living in Asia for a few years, I saw that ethnically homogeneous states have their own assortment of serious problems.

What I see as the biggest fault in these proposals…is the belief that it is possible for an insurrection to force the system to a point where it would be willing to allow secession rather than engage in a bloody and costly counterinsurgency to hold on to Northwest States. This plan fails to acknowledge strategic importance of the region, Wyoming contains the bulk of the nations nuclear arsenal and Montana is sitting on top of one of the largest untapped oil reserves on the planet. There is no way they are going to give up these states. I also believe that Americas perceived failures in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East gives people the false impression the U.S. can be forced to make peace and concessions. I on the other hand, believe that America has always achieved it’s objectives in these conflicts and that if actually forced to, an intact, operational America will kill every man, woman and child on this continent before it allows any part of it to escape it’s control.

I personally believe that partition could only be achieved in conjunction with total systemic collapse. But in the event of such a collapse, I would imagine that free association will lead to a natural, functional and sustainable equilibrium anyway. I predict this would lead to a multiplicity of diversified states, not all based on race. The Mormons are already working towards a religious based state and I assume that other groups will define and segregate themselves along lines of religion, political inclinations, geographical preference, sexual orientation and other lifestyle considerations as well as race. And I hope that there will always be integrated cosmopolitan regions, some minorities within every state and a degree of hospitable travel and exchange between all states. ”

                                                           “Rodney”, Tradition and Revolution Forum

“Although anarchism can take the form of class struggle, it’s not defined by class struggle, it’s defined by opposition to the state or to rulership in general (which may include class rule), to hierarchy, authoritarianism, centralization, bureaucracy, etc…A nationalized health care system, contrary to expectations, would actually increase people’s individual freedom — for instance, by freeing them from dependence on jobs they hate for health care…In that sense, the opponents of nationalized health care also have a claim on the label “anarchist,” so long as they are also opposed to the present system of giant health insurance bureaucracies and employer provided insurance.

(The Left’s) analysis of race is also out of date, at least for the urban coastal areas of the USA like New York, LA, or Miami. American society is now multicultural. Does racism still exist? Sure it does, but it’s much more complex than the classic black/white right/wrong racism of the 50s and 60s. There’s a rainbow of people and racism, or simply hostility towards other cultural or language groups, runs in all directions. You say the “right wing” libertarians are all white? Well so are many left wing anarchist groups. You say white people don’t like to talk about race? But there’s an obvious reason why they don’t: there are severe penalties for saying the “wrong” thing about race, thanks to the politically correct left. Also, for white people, their racial identity has been made into a source of shame, whereas the opposite has occurred for blacks, for whom many benefits and privileges now accrue in the form of affirmative action.”

                                                                                           -Ed D’Angelo

The British State and the British National Party: The Post-Modern Tyranny of “Human Rights” by Sean Gabb

Why Not Crippling Sanctions for Israel and the U.S.? by Paul Craig Roberts

If Sarah Palin is the Answer… by Geoffrey Wheatcroft

Bay Area National Anarchists: An Interview with Andrew Yeoman, Part 2 from The Occidental Quarterly Online

Time to Get Out of Afghanistan by George F. Will

Is the Antiwar Movement Waking Up? Not Yet. by Justin Raimondo

Continental Drifts: Is a Falling Out Between Europe and America on the Way? by Geoffrey Wheatcroft

70 Years After-Did Hitler Really Want War? by Pat Buchanan

Pol Pot’s Lawyer: A Profile of Jacques Verges  by Stephanie Giry

Americans Income Slump is the Biggest on Record by Laurent Belsie

The Myth of Technological Progress by Scott Locklin

Sorry, But the Constitution Really Doesn’t Mandate Limited Government by Austin Bramwell

How I Became An Anarchist by Gary Chartier

If the Left Doesn’t Organize Them, the Right Will by Bob Morris

Andrew Yeoman of BANA Interviewed by Tomislav Sunic from Voice of Reason Radio

Paul Wolfowitz vs The Realists by Stephen M. Walt

World War II: Unspeakable Horror Now Encrusted in Myths by Robert Higgs

The Good War Wasn’t So Good by Justin Raimondo

The USSA is the Former USSR Mark Ames interviewed by Scott Horton

Reflections on the Revolution in Europe by Derek Turner

We Need a New Antiwar Coalition: Peace is the #1 Issue John Walsh interviewed by Scott Horton

Holocaust Revisionism by Richard Spencer

Assessing What Ron Paul Has Accomplished by Gary North

Where Are All These Jobs? by Ilana Mercer

Neo-Tribalism Facebook Page 

The Afghan 80s Are Back by Jonathan Steele

These Colors Run Red by Andrew Bacevich

The Corruption of Empire by Philip Giraldi

The Washington Post’s Cheneyite Defense of Torture by Glenn Greenwald

The BBC Could Not Handle a Right-Winger Against the War by Peter Hitchens

Prosecute the Torturers by Jacob Hornberger

Obama’s War by Dave Lindorff

Misunderstanding Terrorism by Jim Harper

The Menace of Gandhism by Murray Rothbard (the rebuttal by George H. Smith)

The Liberals’ War by Gene Healy

Mummar Qaddafi by Eric Margolis

Cheney and Torture by Jeremy Scahill

Does Diversity Make Whites More Opposed to Welfare? by TGGP

The Decline and Fall of Sloanism by Kevin Carson

Rethinking the Good War by Laurence Vance

Why College Costs So Much by John Zmirak

The Rise of Mercenary Armies by Sherwood Ross

The Ghost of September 11, 2001 by Justin Raimondo

The Justice of Pay Discrimination by Mike Tennant

The U.S. Is Deploying Its Vietnam-Iraq Fig Leaf in Afghanistan by Jack Douglas

It’s Groundhog Day at Duke University by William Anderson

Tyranny in Your Front Yard by Butler Shaffer

Obama’s Bogus Peace Plan Eugene Bird interviewed by Scott Horton

The Best Congress AIPAC Can Buy by Philip Giraldi

Understanding Dictatorships by Jon Basil Utley

The Next New Plan for Bananastan by Jeff Huber

Afghanistan for Dummies by Ray McGovern

Cheney is Wrong: There is Precedent for Torture Investigation by Steve Sheppard

Obama’s Meaningless War by Robert Scheer

Deficits Are Strangling the Economy to Death by Gary North

The U.S. Economy Has Been Pushed Off a Cliff by Chris Clancy

Say Hello to the Diversity Czar by Bobby Eberle

Support Our Naked Embassy Guards by Laurence Vance

Bay Area National Anarchist White Cross Patrol BANA Video

Jim Traficant Is Free at Last  by Red Phillips

The Right and Wrong Way to be Politically Incorrect by Ray Mangum

John Wilkes Booth: Did He Go to Hell, or Texas? by Martha Deeringer

Leviathan in One Lesson Tom DiLorenzo interviewed by Lew Rockwell

The Drug War is Working (for the System) by Wilton Alston

Democracy is a Very Dangerous Form of Government by Mark Crovelli

Pot Prohibition: A Crime Against Humanity by Paul Armentano

The Moral Hazard of Inflation by Theodore Dalrymple

Is Japan Moving Toward Independence? Michael Penn interviewed by Scott Horton

Why Doesn’t Hillary Fire Blackwater? by Jeremy Scahill

Whatever Happened to Gary Cooper? The Need for a Quieter Patriotism by William Astore and Tom Engelhardt

Barack Obama to Cindy Sheehan: Get Lost  by John V. Walsh

Calling Hannah Arendt by Jane Mayer

How Bad Will It Get? by Mike Whitney

Inside Auburn Prison by Marcus Rediker

Deeper Into the Tunnel by Alexander Cockburn

59 Shots: Those Dirty PIGS by Rad Geek

California Is Importing Poverty by Linda Thom

George Will Quits the War Party by Jack Hunter

Prolonging Futility in Afghanistan by Stephen Chapman

Obama Is Leading the U.S. Into a Hellish Quagmire by Mark Ames

The New Babylon by Michael Collins Piper

Churchill Spurred the Decline of the West by Pat Buchanan

Neocon Nutbaggery by Jeff Huber

Afghanistan Is Not Worth It by Joe Galloway

Could George W. Bush End Up Behind Bars? by Jonathan Mann

The Looming Political War Over Afghanistan by Glenn Greenwald

Vicious U.S. Militarism by Kirk Tofte

Alexander in Afghanistan by Mark Hackard

The Struggle for Free Speech in Canada by Kevin Michael Grace

A Landmark Victory from Toronto Globe and Mail

End the Witch Hunts from The National Post

Provacateurs Among “Human Rights” Totalitarians by Joseph Brean

Castro Issues Propaganda Piece for U.S. Liberals 

Traficant in 2012? by Red Phillips

“The Italians were called wops, the Jews were called hymies, I was of course a greaseball, and every Hispanic was a spic. Well, we all got along famously! It was rough, but it was fine.”

                                                                        -Taki Theodoracopulos

Weekly Reading of Scripture

Sam Dolgoff: The Left of the Left of the Left by Paul Berman

Anarchists in the Spanish Civil War footage

An Anarchist Perspective on the Spanish Civil War by Eddie Conlon

The Trial of Leon Czolgosz 

A Nation of Sheep, Ruled by Wolves, Owned by Pigs

The Revolution Within Anarchism 

Forty Years in the Wilderness? 

Liberty and Populism: Building An Effective Resistance Movement for North America

A Dissection of Classical Marxism 2

by Keith Preston

Three important works by Karl Marx, written early in his career as a revolutionary theorist, contain the core ideas that would provide the foundation of the vast intellectual system later to be identified with his name. Among these are his conceptions of historical materialism, class theory, the nature of political economy and the historical function of revolutionary struggles as they emerged in the mid-nineteenth century. The later works of Marx (most famously Das Kapital) can be regarded as the accumulation of sophisticated embellishments of these principal theses. 

 

          The first of these works, The German Ideology, produced in collaboration with Friedrich Engels circa 1844, provides the most comprehensive description of the Marxist notion of historical materialism to be found in any of the works of Marx. Written as an attempted rebuttal of the Hegel-influenced Idealist philosophical outlook to be found in German intellectual circles at the time, attacking in particular the views of Bruno Bauer, “Max Stirner” (Johann Caspar Schmidt) and Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach. The thesis of this work can be summarized quite well with the authors’ statement: “Let us revolt against the rule of thoughts.” [Karl Marx, “The German Ideology”, in Karl Marx: selected writings, ed. David McLellan, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000 reprint, p.176] Arguing against the view that ideas are the guiding force of history, Marx and Engels insist that ideas are themselves the product of material conditions found within the context of a given historical epoch. The material conditions of existence are expressed in a particular “mode of production”, i.e., the methodology by which human animals produce their actual subsistence. The mode of production determines not only the relationship between nations but also the domestic social structure of any given nation. The division of labor that is a corollary to a specific mode of production has the effect of grouping individual laborers into specific class categories with these classes in turn having a specific relationship to one another. [Ibid., p. 176]

 

          Human history subsequently unfolds through paradigmatic shifts in mode of production. These shifts can be identified in particular stages. The first of these, “tribal ownership“, involves a limited division of labor and is organize around the extended family, with the primary productive activities including hunting, fishing, the raising of livestock and primitive farming. The second stage includes the emergence of the State and the grouping of tribes into a system of communal ownership of property organized on the basis of the citizen/slave distinction. At this point, the institution of private property is

more clearly delineated. The division of labor grows wider, greater distinctions between economic groupings on a geographical or functional basis can be observed, and a more rigid class structure emerges. The third stage is represented by feudalism. This mode of production extends over a wider geographical area. Feudalism reverses the relationship of city and country found in the second stage and the “directly producing class” shifts from the slaves to peasant serfs. Co-existing with the feudal manors are the small property holders organized into guilds. Out of feudalism there emerges a fourth stage and a new mode of production: capitalism.[Ibid., p. 179]

 

          The relevance of this unfolding process to human intellectual life is reflected in the claim that “the ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society is at the same time its ruling intellectual force“. [Ibid., p. 192] Human intellectual life is shaped by the material conditions in which it occurs, and these conditions are not something the individual chooses but are the product of external social forces beyond his/her control. “Consciousness is, therefore, from the very beginning a social product, and remains so as long as men exist at all. ” [Ibid., p. 183]”Morality, religion, metaphysics, all the rest of the ideology and their corresponding forms of consciousness, thus no longer retain the semblance of independence. They have no history, no development; but men, developing their material production and their material intercourse, alter, along with this their real existence, their thinking and the products of their thinking.[Ibid., p.183]

 

          Marx and Engels further expound upon this theme in The Communist Manifesto, an application of their theory to the political upheavals of their era. They begin with the bold assertion that the “history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. [Karl Marx, “The Communist Manifesto”, in Karl Marx: selected writings, ed. David McLellan, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000, p.246] The historical evolution of nineteenth century capitalism is summarized. Capitalism grew out of the medieval towns. The rise of the market economy and ever-expanding byways of trade commerce came to eventually challenge the static feudal economy. Technological innovations allowed for a shift away from small-scale production towards the advent of modern industry. This development brought with it a newly emerging class, “the industrial middle class, by industrial millionaires, the leaders of whole industrial armies, the modern bourgeois. [Ibid., p. 247] As the bourgeois has become the dominant class of the capitalist mode of production, the bourgeoisie has obtained political power as well. The bourgeoisie has overthrown feudalism and established republican and parliamentary expressions of the state. These states serve as the executive committee of the bourgeoisie.

 

          Corresponding to the rise of the bourgeoisie has been the rise of urbanization, the centralization of wealth and property (“the means of production‘) and the proletarianization of the peasantry and the small property holder. This has created an unprecedented polarization in class relations between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The workers, or proletarians, have become mere slaves to the industrial process lorded over by the bourgeoisie. The workers have no means to life other than through the sale of their labor to the forces of capital. The process of production has become mechanized and militarized, thereby alienating the worker from the product of his labor and subjecting the worker to exploitation. The workers have organized trade unions and political parties for their own defense and the class struggle is underway. Class solidarity by the proletariat is the path to victory. As the proletariat emerges as the revolutionary class, some in the bourgeoisie have joined their ranks including “a portion of the bourgeois ideologists, who have raised themselves to the level of comprehending

 theoretically the historical movement as a whole.[Ibid. p.248-253] This latter statement is likely a reference to the middle-class intellectuals, including Marx and Engels themselves, who are among the leadership of the Communist movement.

 

          The Communists emerge as the intellectual and activist vanguard of the proletarian revolution. The Communists are the most militant and radical of the proletarian forces who aim to build an international revolutionary movement among the proletariat for the overthrow of the bourgeoisie on a world scale. Just as the French Revolution abolished feudal property relations, so do the Communists wish to abolish bourgeoisie, or capitalist, property relations. Marx and Engels expend much effort in the pamphlet mocking the hypocrisy of the intellectual apologists for the ruling class who defend the present condition of things in the name of “freedom” while reducing the proletariat to destitution and wage slavery. They also attack the subordinate position of women and the exploitation of female labor, child labor, the unavailability of education for the working class, and argue against national patriotism on the part of the working class: “The working men have no country. We cannot take from them what they have not got. Since the proletariat must first of all acquire political supremacy, must rise to be the leading class of the nation, must constitute itself the nation, it is, so far, itself national though not in the bourgeois sense of the word.“[Ibid., pp.255-260] In other words, the proletariat should replace national patriotism with class patriotism and strive to become the ruling class.

 

          Marx applies his approach to class theory and political economy further in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, an analysis of the event surrounding the seizure of the French state by the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1851. He begins with an explanation of how those engaged in contemporary struggles mythologize the past as a means of interpreting the present: “Similarly, at a another stage of development a century earlier, Cromwell and the English people had borrowed speech, passions and illusions from the Old Testament for their bourgeois revolution. When the real aim had been achieved, when the bourgeois transformation of English society had been accomplished, Locke supplanted Habakkuk.“[Karl Marx, “The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte”, in Karl Marx: selected writings, ed. David McLellan; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000, pp.330-331]

 

          Marx likewise attempts to explain setbacks in the course of an revolutionary struggle that is alleged to be inevitable and ordained by history. While bourgeois revolutions “storm swiftly from success to success;….proletarian revolutions….criticize themselves constantly, interrupt themselves continually in their own course, come back to the apparently accomplished in order to begin it afresh, deride with unmerciful thoroughness the inadequacies, weaknesses, and paltrinesses of their first attempts, seem to throw down their adversary only in order that he may draw new strength from the earth and rise again,” [Ibid., p. 332] Marx raises the question of why the bourgeoisie would welcome a coup against the parliamentary regime by Louis Bonaparte if the parliament itself is the political expression of the bourgeoisie as a class. The bourgeoisie does this because its continued existence is more safely guaranteed if it relinquishes self-rule in favor of rule by an autocrat. Consequently, the bourgeoisie supports the repression of its parliament, “its politicians and its literati, its platform and its press, in order that it might then be able to pursue its private affairs with full confidence in the protection of a strong and unrestricted government. It declared unequivocally that it longed to get rid of its own political rule in order to get rid of the troubles and dangers of ruling.” [Ibid., pp. 335-336] As the politicians and literati are only part of the ideological superstructure of the bourgeoisie, these can be jettisoned without damaging the material base of the bourgeoisie. Indeed, this material basis can be strengthened if an autocrat removes political obstacles to the advancement of trade and commerce and represses proletarian insurgencies. Marx’s analysis of the coup carried out by Louis Bonaparte is remarkably similar to the interpretation later Marxist theoreticians would give to the rise of Fascism and Nazism in the twentieth century.

 

          In two lectures presented fifteen years apart, the British Marxist historiographer Eric Hobsbawm attempts to assess the relevant contributions of Marx to the broader study of history. [Eric Hobsbawm, On History, ed. Eric Hobsbawm, “What do Historian Owe to Karl Marx?” and “Marx and History”; New York: New Press, 1997, pp. 141-170]  Hobsbawn begins with an effort to differentiate the actual  thought of Marx from the tendency toward the vulgarization his work (and the tendency of this approach toward crude reductionism) by subsets of later Marxists theoreticians. Hobsbawm regards the principal contribution of Marx to historical studies and the social sciences as derivative of his notion of “base and superstructure”, noting that, conceptually speaking, one need not adhere with particular rigidity to Marx’s application of this idea to recognize its value, further acknowledging that many non-Marxist historians do just that. Marxism also differs from its rivals in the social science in its efforts to explain the process of social evolution. [Ibid., pp. 157-149]

 

           Marxist influence is also credited with the decline of emphasis on political, religious and national histories towards a greater focus on social and economic history and a movement away from the idealist approach to historical interpretation towards a more materialist orientation, or at least one giving greater attention to the role of social forces. Likewise, the impact of Marxism has been to orient, at least implicitly, many historians towards a more teleological view of historical evolution. [Ibid., p. 143] Indeed, Hobsbawm states his own “conviction that Marx’s approach is still the only one which enables us to explain the entire span of human history, and forms the most fruitful starting-point for modern discussion.” (Ibid., p. 155).

 

          This last notion seems problematical. First, the question arises as to whether is it necessary, or even possible, “to explain the entire span of human history” and whether or not the Marxist position has actually done so. Hobsbawm concedes this difficulty, quoting Weber: “That the very Reformation is ascribed to an economic cause, that the length of the Thirty Years War was due to economic causes, the Crusades to feudal land-hunger, the evolution of the family to economic causes, and that Descartes’ view of animals as machines can be brought into relation with the growth of the Manufacturing system.” [Ibid, p. 147]

 

          More difficulties arise from Hobsbawm’s interpretation of the Marxist theory of the state:” The state will normally legitimate the social order by controlling the class conflict within a stable framework of institutions and values, ostensibly standing above and outside them (the remote king as ‘fountain of justice’), and in doing so perpetrate a society which would otherwise be driven asunder by its internal tensions.” [Ibid, p. 154]

But is this theory of the state Marxist in nature? Is not the state, according to Marx, the mere “executive committee” of the ruling class? And are not a “stable framework of institutions and values” mere chimera derived from an ideological superstructure whose function is to legitimize class rule? It would appear that the theory of the state as “standing above and outside” class conflict and the ideological superstructure of those controlling the means of production is more Hobbesian (or, in more recent terms, Schmittian) than Marxist.

 

          Hobsbawm also notes the irony involved in the impact of Marx on historians, given that Marx himself wrote very little on history itself. Marx developed a theory of history, i.e., historical materialism, but was not a historian as such. Hobsbawm observes that the “bulk of Marx’s historical work is thus integrated into his theoretical and political writings.” [Ibid., p. 158] That some major theoretical problems, even outright errors, can be found in Marx’s work is a point conceded by Hobsbawm, noting, for instance, the failure of those societies Marx labeled as “Asiatic” to evolve along the economic lines Marxist theory would predict, a fact that Marx himself acknowledged. [Ibid., p. 164}Does this failure not reduce the Marxist interpretation of economic evolution to a particularist one? Does this not explode the notion of the historical predestination of the proletariat towards inevitable, ultimate victory? 

 

          More than one hundred fifty years after Marx produced these writings, the classical Marxist ideal  of proletarian supremacy has yet to come into being. Instead, the industrial proletariat has been assimilated into the institutional framework of liberal-capitalism and parliamentary democracy with worker organizations like trade unions becoming part of the status quo. The historic working class has been elevated to the status of a de facto middle class and stratified and fragmented by a myriad of sectional interests. Furthermore, the Marxist derision of particularistic attachments like religion, family, nationality, culture, ethnicity and language has proved untenable. Indeed, these kinds of attachments have been most evident among the historic proletariat whom Marxists claim to champion. At the onset of the First World War, the working classes of Europe rallied behind their respective national regimes in opposition to the working classes of other nations. 

 

          Marxist-influenced revolutions in Asian, African and Latin American countries whose economies were still primarily in an agricultural stage have merely replaced their indigenous autocracies, oligarchies and aristocracies with new ones organized on the basis of ideological concepts imported from Europe. To the degree that capitalism has been severely altered or compromised in any industrialized nation it has been on the basis of a nationalistic collectivism (Fascism, National Socialism, Peronism, Ba’athism) or corporatist social-democracy (U.S. corporate liberalism and the welfare states of Western Europe) rather than proletarian socialism.

 

           Marx did accurately predict the eventual globalization of capital and the breaking down of traditional national and cultural boundaries by this process. This is a process that is only now taking place and threatens the middle class workers of the developed world with re-proletarianization as the newly emerging proletariat of the Third World becomes more readily exploitable by international capital.   Traditional nation-states are also in the process of breaking down but this hardly the “withering away of the state” predicted by Marx. Rather, nations are combining into multinational federations, ethno-separatist breakaway states are demanding autonomy, non-state entities (transnational corporations and financial institutions, non-governmental organizations and international bodies like the United Nations) are assuming more responsibilities and non-state militaries are challenging the state’s traditional monopoly on violence. To the degree that the globalization process is being resisted, it is being done by populist-nationalists (like Hugo Chavez) or non-state religious militants (like Osama bin Laden) who appeal to the very particularist sentiments that Marxists vociferously reject. It would appear that the historical legacy of Marxism will be similar that of other interesting, occasionally correct, but severely flawed systems of thought (like Platonism or Calvinism) that have achieved great influence for a time and then declined.

         

 

 

          

 

 

 

 

Interview with Andrew Yeoman on Voice of Reason Radio Reply

On Tuesday, September 1, 2009, at 9 PM Eastern US time, Dr. Tomislav Sunic will interview founder and spokesman of the Bay Area National Anarchists (BANA), Andrew Yeoman. It will air on the Voice of Reason Broadcast Network http://reasonradionetwork.com/ (use the minicaster at the upper right of the main page or use your favorite media player to listen in).

The discussion will involve the nature and background of National Anarchism and the activities of BANA. Topics discussed include:

· How Americans respond to the name “anarchist”

· The history if nationalism in leftist movements and the difference between National Anarchism and National Bolshevism
· The local nature of BANA, the importance of grassroots social movements, and how they work

· The growth of the movement and various National Anarchist groups around the US

· Thinking and acting “tribally” and what tribe means to the organization

· Explanation of National Autonomous Zones (NAZ); extension of the
Temporary Autonomous Zones of Hakim Bey

· BANA non-relationship with local authorities/government

· Terms of acceptance into the Bay Area National Anarchist organization

· Extensive community and charity work done by Bay Area National
Anarchists

· Critics and supporters of BANA and other National Anarchist organizations

· How tribalism ties into race

To learn more about National Anarchism, how to start your own local branch, and to lend support to the Bay Area National Anarchists, go to
bayareanationalanarchists.com, tribalanarchists.com, and join the Tradition and Revolution Forum.

_________________
http://www.bayareanationalanarchists.com

Let’s do this.

Updated News Digest August 30, 2009 Reply

Why Read the Sunday Papers When You Can Read AttacktheSystem.Com!

Quote of the Week:

“Most of the official left has retreated into the loving arms of Whole Foods culture and the self loathing feel-goodism of identity politics.”

                                                                                                              -Dylan Hales

“It may be that the Old Right will come into its inheritance at last 20 or 30 years from now, in one of the little fragment nations that will emerge when corruption, fiscal incompetence, demographic idiocy, educational romanticism, willful scientific ignorance, ethnic warfare, and missionary imperialism have finally destroyed the United States of America.”

                                                                                                   -John Derbyshire

Mother, Should I Trust the Government? by Kevin Carson

We Don’t Want to Rule the World by Mark Weisbrot

Seventy Years Ago: The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact by Robert Higgs

War Coverage and the Obama Cult by Justin Raimondo

In Bush’s Footsteps by Jeff Huber

Renditioning Under Obama by Anthony Gregory

What Every American Should Know About the Inspector General Torture Report by Glenn Greenwald

For an Antiwar Movement from the Right by Patrick Krey

From Citizen to Serf in 200 Years by Paul Craig Roberts

The Politics of Guilt by Paul Gottfried

Follow the Money-Toward Community Independence by Keith Humphrey

Secret Prisons and Executive Sovereignty by Bernard Keenan

Obama to Expand War in Colombia by Moira Birss

The Coming Media Bailout by Justin Raimondo

We’re All Socialists Now by Jack Hunter

The Hawaiian Independence Movement Gains Momentum by Tony Sachs

Democracy: The God That Failed by Pat Buchanan

Beautiful Losers: Review of Paul Gottfried’s Encounters by John Derbyshire

Democracy Is Not Liberty from No Third Solution

U.S. Prison Mania: Enough Is Enough by Robert Foss

New England Republicans and Southern Democrats by Razib Khan

Rapists On Patrol from Rad Geek

Barack Hussein Obama in Wonderland by Ilana Mercer

How to Bring Peace to Afghanistan by Eric Margolis

The City That Ended Hunger by Francois Tremblay

Hitler Was a Vegetarian by Robert Stacy McCain

Pluralist Libertarianism’s Far Left Counterpart by Mupetblast

A Patriotic Conservative by Jack Hunter

Occupy, Resist, Produce! by Francois Tremblay

Christoper Caldwell’s Reflections on the Revolution by Jared Taylor

The Electronic Police State by Tom Burghardt

Fidel Castro Enabler by Humberto Fontova

Back Door Gun Control by John Silveira

Do It Yourself Cigarettes by Steve Szkotak

Critical Analysis of the Left: Let’s Clean House by Joaquin Cienfuegos

Four New Books on Conservatism by Filmer

Israel: A Stalemated Action of History by Gabriel Kolko

Whatever Happened to the Antiwar Movement? by Byron York

Obama and the Black Elite by Patricia J. Williams

Remembering Ruby Ridge

Another One Bites the Dust Rot in Hell, Teddy Kennedy by Dylan Hales

Liberals for the Draft? WTF? by Richard Spencer

A Future of Poverty and Upheaval by Chris Martin

Environmentalists for Another Great Depression by John R. Wennersten

Charles Murray: Pro-Torture Libertarian In His Own Words

Aldous Huxley and C.S. Lewis: Two Great Men Who Died on the Same Day as JFK by Lew Rockwell

The Silence of the Antiwar Movement by John V. Walsh

What the Inspector General Found by Joanne Mariner

Eric Holder Rejects Nuremberg Principle by Thomas Eddlem

Afghanistan Apocalypse by Robert Dreyfuss

Closing in on the Torturers by Ray McGovern

A Terrible Blogger is Back! by Ray Mangum

Proudhon on Man’s Labor Being Dependent on Society by Francois Tremblay

Bailouts, Bullshit and Blackmail: How Banks Profit in the 21st Century from No Third Solution

Proudhon on the Labor Theory of Value from Francois Tremblay

Creep: The Trouble with Ted by Jack Hunter

The Mythical Antiwar Movement  by Dylan Hales

More on Internment Camps by Chuck Baldwin

Hate Crime Hysteria Equals Hate Speech Totalitarianism from Washington Watcher

If Americans Knew…What Every American Needs to Know About Israel/Palestine (hat tip to Chris Donnellan)

Teddy Kennedy: The Hollow Champion by Alexander Cockburn

Vague Senate Bill Would Grant President Emergency Control of Internet from Weaver

Decentralization for Freedom by Donald W. Livingstone

Advancements in Drug Decriminalization by David Kramer

How Jewish is Hollywood? by David Kramer

PIG to Protestors: “It Ain’t America No More, OK?” 

The Useless PIGS by Ryan McMaken

Put Dick Cheney in the Dock Ray McGovern interviewed by Scott Horton

Can Libertarians Lead the Antiwar Movement? James Ostrowski interviewed by Scott Horton

Thugs of Fortune by Jeff Huber

Making Afghanistan Safe for Democracy by Anthony Gregory

Weekly Reading of Scripture

Russian Anarchists and the Civil War by Paul Avrich

Life in Revolutionary Barcelona by Manolo Gonzalez

On Representative Government and Universal Suffrage by Mikhail Bakunin

Military Anarchism and the Reality in Spain by Frederica Montseny

A Nation of Sheep, Ruled by Wolves, Owned by Pigs

The Revolution Within Anarchism 

Forty Years in the Wilderness? 

Liberty and Populism: Building An Effective Resistance Movement for North America

Why Conservatism is a Failure 3

by Keith Preston

Review of Critchlow, Donald T. The Conservative Ascendency: How the GOP Right Made Political History. Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press, 2007.

 

            Donald Critchlow traces the history of modern American conservatism from its inception in the 1950s as an intellectual synthesis of the American classical liberal tradition, emphasizing individualism and free enterprise, and older European traditions expressing skepticism of liberal modernity. This intellectual framework found its expression in a fiercely anti-Communist outlook that resulted in the abandonment of the traditional foreign policy isolationism of the American Right in favor of Cold War militarism. Regarding domestic policy, these new conservatives sought to roll back the welfare state apparatus that emerged from the New Deal. Conservative leaders and activists sold their ideology and program to the public at large with an emphasis on patriotism, hawkish foreign policy views, social conservatism and traditional values.

 

            According to Critchlow, the conservatives were nearly relegated to

irrelevance on the American political scene on several occasions only to make a surprising comeback at a later point. The key events Critchlow points to are the defeat of Republican Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater in 1964, the

perceived betrayal of conservatives by President Nixon and the subsequent

scandals surrounding his administration, and the revitalization of the Democratic Party symbolized by the election of President Clinton in 1992. In each of these situations, Critchlow argues, conservatives seemed to be “down for the count” only to reemerge at a future point in defiance of the predictions of analysts and pundits.  Following the Goldwater defeat, conservatives were able to rebound by exploiting the emerging cultural divide concerning matters of patriotism, race, gender, sex, culture, and religion that continues to figure prominently in American politics at present. Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” (a term not mentioned by Critchlow) was successful in breaking the Democrats’ hold on the South and allowing the Republicans to take the White House in 1968.

 

            Once in office, Nixon was a disappointment to conservatives, not only failing to roll back but actually expanding and further institutionalizing the

welfare state initiatives of the Great Society. His realist foreign policy, loss of the Vietnam War and thawing of relations with China also contrasted with the

ferocious anti-Communism of the American Right. The Watergate related

scandals left the GOP in shambles and allowed the Democrats to make a

comeback with the election of President Carter in 1976. One of the more

interesting aspects of Critchlow’s thesis is his argument that Ronald Reagan’s

failure to obtain the Republican nomination in ’76 actually saved his political

 career, his presidential ambitions and the conservative movement along with

them. If yet another conservative hero like Reagan had suffered defeat in the same manner as Goldwater twelve years earlier, conservatism might well have come to be regarded as lacking viability as a movement capable of achieving electoral success.

 

            Though Reagan remained personally popular with conservatives, the

performance of his administration was a disappointment and his successor George H. W. Bush was an even greater disappointment. After the Democrats were able to obtain control of both the Presidency and both houses of Congress in 1992, the conservative Republicans made a striking comeback in with sweeping congressional victories in 1994, the subsequent election of George W. Bush for two terms at the onset of the twenty-first century and the capturing of the White House and Congress by the Republicans in 2000. Critchlow points out that conservatism in power has been strikingly different from the vision of the movement’s founders in the 1950s noting, for example, the utter failure of conservatives to significantly curtail the welfare state or “big government”.

 

            This latter issue partially illustrates a gaping hole in Critchlow’s analysis. So far as his contingency theory goes, he makes his case fairly well. The right-wing Republicans have no doubt been given a number of political and electoral gifts over the years due to changes in American society of the kinds manifested as the so-called “culture wars” and, perhaps no less significantly, the persistent bumbling of their opponents, such as the inept administrations of Presidents Johnson or Carter and the often directionless, seemingly stumbling inertia of the stale and moribund Democratic Party and the wider American Left. However, Critchlow’s work is just as significant for what it leaves out as what it actually discusses.

 

            The key to understanding modern American conservatism can be found in a statement on the final page of Critchlow’s book: “The GOP Right took advantage of a population shift to the Sunbelt states and the desertion of whites from the Democratic Party.” (p. 286) The question is why did this population shift occur in the first place and how is it relevant to the “conservative ascendancy”? The growth of the Sunbelt population emerged in direct correlation to the growth of the military-industrial complex during World War Two and the early Cold War period. The growth of industry and manufacturing in these regions was directly related to military production and this massive expansion of armaments and other war related industries created a high wage blue collar sector and an expanded white collar sector that became the foundation of suburban population growth and the accompanying conservative social and political values of the emerging Sunbelt.

 

            The military industries headquartered in the Sunbelt subsequently initiated a challenge to the traditional hegemony of the “northeastern establishment”, long the center of America’s traditional ruling class. Towards this end, the arms manufacturers made common cause with other “old money” elites, such as Texas oil and the Mellon banking dynasty. Critchlow drops hints that these forces were indeed the real power behind postwar American conservatism. For instance, the role of William F. Buckley, Jr.’s National Review in providing the intellectual leadership of the conservative movement is discussed. Critchlow fails to mention that Buckley’s magazine operated at a loss for years after its inception and was underwritten by his family’s oil wealth and other donors. Critchlow also discusses the role of “philanthropies such as the Scaife Fund, the John M. Olin Foundation, and the Bradley Foundation” and “wealthy conservative benefactors such as Joseph Coors” (p. 105), along with “think tanks” such as the American Enterprise Institute whose president, A.D. Marshall, was also CEO of General Electric.(p.119) There was never any company that had closer ties to the military-industrial complex than General Electric. Critchlow mentions the Heritage Foundation, which was financed by the “Mellon heir Richard Scaife”. (p. 122)

 

            Critchlow’s work is rather narrowly focused. He concentrates merely on the operation of the political machinery by the conservative movement’s activists and politicians and the writings and publications of the movement’s intellectuals and theoreticians (some might say propagandists). Had Critchlow examined further the broader economic, class, military and foreign policy forces behind postwar conservatism he might have been in a better position to assess the movement’s failures and successes. Conservatism has succeeded in achieving only one of its stated goals and that is the permanent escalation of the military budget and the permanent expansion of America’s foreign military presence. On every other issue claimed by this brand of conservatism (a misnomer?), the level of failure is overwhelming. Rolling back the welfare state? “Big government” is now bigger and more expansive than ever. Fiscal restraint? The US public debt is larger than ever to the point where America is the world’s leading debtor. Social conservatism and traditional values? America is arguably a more culturally liberal society today than ever before. Indeed, given the phenomenal success of the “conservatives” in expanding military spending and military interventionism and their phenomenal failure on everything else, one might be tempted to look at the movement’s benefactors and true beneficiaries and argue that the former was the only issue that really mattered all along, and that the grassroots economic, fiscal, social, cultural, religious and patriotic conservatives who comprised the activist base and key voting blocks were, to use an ironic Leninist term, nothing more than “useful idiots”.

Decentralizing the Decentralist Movement 5

For three years in a row, between 2006 and 2008, a North American secessionist convention was held where delegates from actual secessionist organizations and interested observers gathered to discuss the possibility of decentralizing the United States into smaller political units. Thus far, it does not appear there will be another convention for 2009. I suspect this is for the better. I only attended the third such convention, but to my knowledge there was no growth in attendance or media coverage of these events over the three years they took place.

In spite of the fact that the secessionist movement in North America seems to have peaked for the time being, there has been a subsequent growth in so-called “state sovereignty” resolutions, i.e, legislation passed or at least introduced in state governmental bodies upholding the federalist principles of the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A majority of the fifty states have either considered or enacted such resolutions. The highlight of this movement was Texas Governor Rick Perry’s no doubt insincere comments expressing sympathy for secession.

For the most part, these state sovereignty resolutions are simply matters of partisan political grandstanding initiated by members of the opposition Republican Party in order to embarrass or antagonize the Obama regime. I used to hear a lot about the Tenth Amendment the last time the Republicans were out of power, during the Clinton era, and it was often said in those days that Republican politicians carry copies of the Tenth Amendment in their back pockets but carry capitalist whore money in their front pockets.

During the era of the Bush the Younger, the roles reversed a bit, and it was not uncommon to see individual localities and a few states with liberal leanings issue resolutions denouncing the Iraq War or the Patriot Act. About 300 local governmental bodies did so. Now that the Democrats are back, the tides have turned once again. Only a handful of these recently issued state sovereignty resolutions include any genuinely radical provisions or even hint at secession.

Nevertheless, these resolutions may provide a rhetorical tool that genuine radicals can exploit. But a change in tactics will be necessary for the decentralist movement. Thus far, efforts to promote such actions as secession have involved holding continent-wide conferences attended by only a few dozen people, who in turn represent very small organizations or movements. However, these self-appointed secessionist organizations often claim to speak for entire regions containing millions, tens of millions, or even hundreds of millions of people. This would seem to be a case of putting the cart ahead of the horse.

Of course, this is not to say that the secessionist movement thus far has achieved nothing. Past efforts have brought a certain amount of publicity, and the Zogby poll commissioned by the Middlebury Institute indicates the raw materials do indeed exist for the development of a large scale secessionist effort at some point in the future. Yet, to continue to move such efforts along, it needs to be understood that before we can run, we have to crawl.

It is highly unlikely that secession by individual states or regions of any size will be viable for the forseeable future. For instance, the League of the South is the largest single secessionist organization with membership in the thousands. The southern nationalists do indeed raise legitimate and serious issues concerning the hysterical prejudice often displayed by liberal elites against white working class Southerners, and their history, culture, religion, language and so forth. Yet, it is also true that sympathy for what used to be known as the “Lost Cause” (i.e., the Confederate secession) is at an all time low among Southerners. This is because quite a few people can be found in the South today who have no historical connections to the Confederate era, e.g., transplanted Northerners and their offspring, European immigrants and their offspring, more recent immigrants from Latin America, and, of course, a large African-American population that is alienated from Confederate heritage for obvious reasons, and many liberal, cosmopolitan, urban whites who resent the South’s conservative image. In other words, the prospect for a unified secession by the former Confederate states under the Stars and Bars is just about zero.

This is not to say that instances of a full-blown, secessionist fervor by certain states are not possible. It is imaginable that Texas and Vermont, both of which were once independent nations, could actually secede at some point. The same could be said concerning Alaska and Hawaii, neither of which are connected to the American mainland and both of which have their own indigenous cultures that have been subject to colonial subjugation by the United States. The indigenous people of the American mainland itself are another possibility for secession.

For the most part, however, it is far too soon in the game to begin thinking of secession by entire regions, such as Cascadia, New England, Novocadia, the former Confederate States, or California. Instead, it is better to begin with something a little less grandiose, and start agitating for secession by towns, cities, neighborhoods, counties or communities. This is not to say that we should not have a long-term vision. In my view, the only way we will win in the long run is if we have numbers on our side. For instance, the majority of the population of the United States will need to either recognize the right of secession or not actively oppose it. Right now, the numbers are only at about twenty percent. Also, it is likely we will need for there to be a secession by at least a majority of the territory of the United States, and at least the majority of the residents of the seceded territories will need to hold pro-secessionist sympathies. This does not mean than an individual secessionist tendency cannot be very small. For instance, a single county or small town. But such a secession will need to be part of a much larger pan-secessionist alliance, or at least under the umbrella of such an alliance. Otherwise, the secessionists will end up like the Branch Davidians.

It would seem that the best course of action at present would be to begin promoting the decentralist idea in local communities. This gives us a great deal of leeway in terms of how to proceed. For instance, we can simply stick with the idea of secession or independence as an end unto itself and do so in a non-ideological manner, or we can advocate secession for a broader ideological purpose. If one wishes to pursue the former approach, then our local propaganda should simply emphasize the common benefits of independence: “Wouldn’t it be better if our tax dollars stayed in our community without going to the parasites in Washington?”; “Did you know that our locality gets less in services than what we pay in taxes?”; “Wouldn’t it be better if we could simply make our own laws here in our community rather than suffer the dictates of the feds or the state capital?”; “Look at Liechtenstein! If they can do it, why can’t we?”.

The other approach would be to agitate for a more specific ideological program, the way that the Free Staters are doing in New Hampshire, or the Christian Exodus has attempted in South Carolina and elsewhere. If this approach is what one prefers, then it is essential to pick an actual locality where the local culture is conducive to one’s wider agenda. There are also options as to how radical one wants to make one’s secessionist platform. In certain communities, it may at present be a bit of an overload to advocate full-blown secession from the United States itself, even if that is the overall goal. Instead, it might be better to advocate secession by regions (for instance, turning northern California into a separate state within the U.S.), or by cities (turning New York City into the 51st state), or by municipality (turning Long Island into an independent city from NYC). This more moderate approach does not mean that we cannot maintain the dissolution of the present state-capitalist regime as an ultimate goal, and there may be at present certain regions or localities where agitation for full-blown secession from the U.S. is the proper route.

At this point in the game, the cultivation of effective propaganda is obviously a primary task. Hans Hermann Hoppe has remarked that answering the question of “How to Win?” means asking the question of “How to win the sympathy of the youth?”  The reasons for this should be obvious enough. If and when the pan-secessionist movement becomes a mass movement, those who are currently older will most likely be deceased. Youth are the future. So our propaganda should primarily be directed at younger audiences. Also, it is the younger people who have demonstrated the greatest proclivity towards secessionist sympathies, and who have the weakest degree of sympathy for the present regime. For instance, the writer Tom Wolfe once remarked that the incidents of September 11, 2001 did little to inspire long-term patriotic sentiments among young Americans, as much as it was just another event they saw on television. Likewise, it has been said that while the older members of the current “post-paleo” movement who came out of the Ron Paul campaign adhere to older paleoconservative ideas, many of the younger members adhere to more radical libertarian, anarchist or anarcho-capitalist positions. And we have seen the rapid growth of national-anarchism in North America in recent times as well.

Our propaganda campaigns should include three indispensable elements. First, the principle of “peace through separatism” should be upheld to the letter. It makes little sense to advocate secession only by those sharing a uniform ideological stance if one of our objectives to maintain and respect genuine cultural diversity and if achieving civil and political peace is one of the reasons for separatism. Second, the “good riddance” argument must be emphasized. We should say to conservatives: “Don’t you want to be rid of all those godless atheists, ungrateful minorities, bitchy feminists, perverted homosexual deviants, tree-hugging eco-freaks, gun-grabbers and smelly, drug-addled, tofu-munching, lice-infested hippies?”. Likewise, we should say to liberals: “Don’t you want to be rid of all those Bible-banging, flag-waving, share-cropping, inbred, gun nut, gay-bashing, fetus-hugging, cross-burning, goose-stepping, trailer trash?” In other words, we should exploit and capitalize on the hatred that the dominant factions of the mainstream “culture wars” have for one another. Lastly, we should ignore the forces of political correctness when they attack, as they inevitably will. There should be no capitulation, accommodation, apology, rebuttal, attempted clarification, recognition or respect given to the forces of PC. To give an inch of ground is to play into the hands of the enemy. PC is not only the ideological superstructure of the ruling class, but its primary rhetorical and propaganda weapon. We should disarm our enemies by openly defying them.

I have in the past mentioned the possibility of infiltration into larger organizations by those holding pan-secessionist and related sympathies. For instance, the minor political parties, local units of the major parties, and single-issue pressure groups. Mr. Larry Kilgore, a conservative Christian activist, ran for the Senate in the Republican primary for Texas on an explicitly secessionist platform and won 225, 000 votes. That’s quite an achievement. I would suggest the use of local symbolic electoral campaigns as a propaganda tool. The goal would not so much be to win as much as to publicize the separatist cause. Let’s say that in a few years a wide network emerges of young people running for mayor, city council, or state representative positions in local elections, and doing so explicitly as anarchists, national-anarchists, pluralists, tribalists, decentralists and avowed secessionists. The uniqueness of such an action, e.g., a large number of such campaigns occurring simultaneously and the radical nature of the ideas of the campaigners, will likely be enough by itself to generate a fair amount of media attention. Likewise, a wider participation in ordinary, mainstream community activities and community activism by those holding such views, for example, “adopt-a-highway” campaigns, volunteering for shelters and homeless feeding programs, setting up neighborhood watch and copwatch programs, will naturally enhance our credibility. In the process of building up the classical Spanish anarchist movement prior to the Civil War, it was not uncommon for some villages and towns to have anarchist mayors, and anarchists were among the ranks of prominent community leaders, and not just fringe figures as they are today. So we have a historical model to draw on. It need only to be adapted to contemporary circumstances.

R

Updated News Digest August 23, 2009 Reply

Why Read the Sunday Paper When You Can Read AttacktheSystem.Com!!

Quote of the Week:

“A brilliant developer in Southern California did a market survey, and he found that in the area where he had the property, so he had to do the development, conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats were almost evenly divided, so, and he had one gated community he had to build, so on the left side he built houses that suited conservative Republicans, and on the right side he built places where you could have yoga and meditation and everything (laughter) that suited liberal Democrats, and he actually sold it out immediately, divided exactly as he had predicted, from his market surveys.”

                                                                                                   -Bill Clinton

“Counter-Culture hung up the Out of Business sign sometime in the Nineties, finished off by identity politics and general self-satisfaction.”

                                                                                                 -Alexander Cockburn

Does Decentralization Lead to Social Regression? by Ethel Leona Futo

Decentralism for the Masses: The Big Sort and What It Reveals About Localism and Voluntary Segregation by Ethel Leona Futo

Anarcho-Micronationalism and Race-Realism by Ethel Leona Futo

The National Health Service: A Libertarian Perspective by Sean Gabb

“Right-Wing Militancy” Explained by Ian Huyett

Americans: Serfs Ruled by Oligarchs by Paul Craig Roberts

Debt Revolt? Tax Strike? There Are a Lot of Angry People Out There by Marshall Auerback

Watch Out for the Thought Police by Philip Giraldi

How About a Nationwide Worker and Consumer Strike? by Larry Flynt

How Many Enemies and How Much Military Spending? by Doug Bandow

George Jackson, Black Revolutionary by Walter Rodney

The Economics of World Government Hans Hermann Hoppe interviewed by Lew Rockwell

A Color-Coded Con Job by Michael Scheuer

The “Safe Haven” Myth by Stephen Walt

Lesson of Vietnam Lost in Afghanistan by Stanley Kutler

What If They Gave a War and Nobody Knew Why? by Ted Rall

Troy Southgate’s Tradition and Revolution Reviewed by D.E. Hobson

An Interview with Andrew Yeoman of BANA from The Occidental Quarterly Online

A Smart Solution to the Diversity Dilemma by Jason Richwine

Sovereignty or Secession? by Darrel Mulloy

Why Some White People Are Stating the Obvious by Carol Swain

Why Gay Marriage is a Non-Issue by Joshua Livestro

The Creator of The Wire on the Drug War by Stephan Kinsella

Racial Partition of the United States  by Michael Hart (hat tip to TGGP and Arnold)

Slavery and the State: The Arguments for One Are the Same as the Arguments for the Other by Robert Higgs

Shoplifting: Crime, Vice or Ethical Act? by Francois Tremblay

Secession: Five Years Later by Bill Buppert

War? What War? by Justin Raimondo

Right-Wing Thugs and Corporate Reforms by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Third Position Healthcare by Taylor Somers

Profit: Not Just a Motive by Steve Horwitz

Look Out Kid, It’s Something You Did from Austro-Athenian Empire

Populist Right Rising in the Age of Obama by Pat Buchanan

Fourth Sacco and Vanzetti Memorial March and Rally on August 23

Tacoma Anarchist Prisoner Support from Infoshop.Org

U.S. Soldiers Will Deploy to Columbia by Stephen C. Webster

The Second American Revolution Has Begun from Second Vermont Republic

Why I Am Not a Libertarian  by Harrison Bergeron 2

The Specter of Debt Revolt is Haunting Europe by Michael Hudson

Block Obama’s Surrender to Drug and Insurance Companies by Ralph Nader

Zionist Pioneer Renounces Zionism by Helena Cobban

The Only Good Progressive by TGGP

Money=Debt=Slavery from Mindprogrammer

How to Get Rich by Gary North

History You Are Not Supposed to Know by Tom Woods

There’s Always a Good Time to Use a Taser by Karen DeCoster

Afghan Election 2009: Freedom, Fraud and Fornication by Justin Raimondo

“Felonious Assault” With a Pizza Slice by William Norman Grigg

Look Who’s Not Talking by Jeff Huber

Shoot Them, You Win. Shoot You, You Lose. by Wilton Alston

Soldiers Who Just Say No by Jon Letman

PIGS Attack Man Sitting on His Own Porch by William Norman Grigg

A Primer for the Neo-Patriots by Kelley B. Vlahos

Questions on the Eve of the Afghan Election by Michael Scheuer

The Failed U.S. Drug War in Latin America by Jeremy Kuzmarov

Hyperinflation? Seriously? Robert Murphy interviewed by Richard Spencer

Inflation and the Fall of the Roman Empire by Joseph Peden

U.S. Denounces Iran, Runs Fake Elections in Afghanistan by Eric Margolis

Bank Holidays and Worse to Come by Achal Mehra

Out Now! That’s What the Iraqis Are Saying by Justin Raimondo

The American Police State by Fred Reed

Vietnam: Still an Unjust War by Laurence Vance

The Worst President in U.S. History by Douglas Casey

Bases of Empire by Paul J. Nyden

Armed Response by Brian Kendall

State Department: “Be Afraid! Be Very Afraid!” by Robert Dreyfuss

Guess What? He’s a Terrible President by David Michael Green

Parents, Don’t Send Your Kids to College by Gary North

Mali’s Gift Economy by Beverly Bell

How War Killed the Constitution Tom Woods interviewed by Scott Horton

Little Miss PC Southern Belle by Karen DeCoster

The War on Obesity as the Latest Manifestation of the Therapeutic State by Anthony Gregory

Doctors Who Make House Calls by Parija B. Kavilanz

The Great Writ Habeus Corpus Anthony Gregory interviewed Scott Horton

The “Intellectual Property” Racket Stephan Kinsella interviewed by Lew Rockwell

The Cruel American Raj Eric Margolis interviewed by Scott Horton

A Four-Step Healthcare Solution by Hans Hermann Hoppe

The Afghan Pipe Dream by Pete Escobar

Blackwater: CIA Assassins by Jeremy Scahill

The Profiteers of the Military-Industrial Complex by Sherwood Ross

Israel is Just Not as Powerful as You May Think by Ira Chernus

Cover Up: A Film’s Travesty of Omissions by John Pilger

Man Jailed for Three Months for Breath Mint Possession by Radley Balko

Guantanamo’s More Evil Twin? by Andrew Wander

Whites Are People, Too by Jack Hunter

I Am Finally Scared of a White House Administration by Nat Hentoff

Reality is its Own Caricature for U.S. in Afghanistan and Pakistan by William Pfaff

The Right-Wing’s Prince of Gonzo by Alexander Cockburn

Sarah and the Death Panels by Pat Buchanan

Squatters Take Root in U.S. Forests by Dennis Wagner

Why I Love Shoplifting from Big Corporations  by Anonymous

Leonard Peltier Denied Parole 

The Truth About the Afghan Election  by Patrick Cockburn

Rapper Gets Two Years in Prison for Anti-Cop Song by Jeff Douglas

The Conscience of an Anarchist Gary Chartier interviewed by Little Alex

Obama’s Alliance with Big Pharma Greg Palast interviewed by Scott Horton

“Thousands of Southern Women Were Raped” by Thomas DiLorenzo

Today’s Exploited Minorities by Pierre Lemieux

B’Nai Brith Diligently Disproves Stereotype About Jews by Ezra Levant

Conservatives Tithe Their Children to the State by Gary North

A Post-Modern Middle Ages by Parag Khanna

Lying Evangelical Christian in the Legal Racket by William Anderson

More Feminazi Crap

A Critique of Russell Kirk’s “Libertarians: The Chirping Sectaries” by Gennady Stolyarov II

 

 

Weekly Reading of Scripture

Panarchy by Max Nettlau

The Anarchist Revolution by Errico Malatesta

To Tramps, the Unemployed, the Disinherited and Miserable by Lucy Parsons

Sentencing Statements by Niccolo Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti

A Nation of Sheep, Ruled by Wolves, Owned by Pigs

The Revolution Within Anarchism 

Forty Years in the Wilderness? 

Liberty and Populism: Building An Effective Resistance Movement for North America

Gandhi: Politics, Economics and the Backlash 2

by Keith Preston

I. Gandhi as Spiritual Godfather of the Indian Independence Movement

II. Critics of Gandhi and the Conservative Hindu Backlash

 

Early Life and the Beginnings of Gandhi’s Radicalism        

 

 

           Mohandas K. Gandhi originated from India’s business caste and grew up amidst Vaishnovite and Jain influences. From youth onward, he was a devout vegetarian and even belonged to an association for vegetarians during his time studying law in London. Gandhi began his adult life as an Anglophile, once referring to Great Britain as “the land of poets and philosophers”. His radicalization began when he went to practice law in South Africa and experienced the discrimination against the Indian community to be found there. He became active in the struggle for Indian civil rights, initially arguing that because Indians were British subjects, they were entitled to the “full rights of Englishmen” recognized by British law. After beginning his struggle in South Africa, he moved his efforts to India itself and began organizing poor farmers and workers against oppressive taxation and discrimination. Following the massacre at Punjab, Gandhi came to believe that Indians would require full independence from Great Britain in order to be assured of their human rights. Over time he would completely abandon his initially favorable view of the West, eventually remarking that Western civilization “would be a good idea”, implying that he regarded Westerners as barbarians.

 

 

Satyagraha and the Philosophy of Non-Violence

 

          Gandhi’s views on non-violence are widely misunderstood, particularly among Westerners. The evidence refutes the ideas that Gandhi was a conventional pacifist, as pacifism is commonly understood. Indeed, Gandhi was highly critical of efforts by the British to deprive Indians of “the right to bear arms”.  His support for the British war effort in World War One was justified in part by his desire to see the right of Indians to possess arms restored. As he stated in his autobiography:

 

“Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest. If we want the arms act to be repealed, if we want to learn the use of arms, here is a golden opportunity. If the middle classes render voluntary help to the government in the hour of its trial, distrust will disappear, and the ban on possessing arms will be withdrawn.” (Mohandas K. Gandhi, An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth, Beacon Press, Boston, 1957, pp. 446-447)

 

Gandhi supported both the Boer War and the First World War and urged other Indians to do so arguing that support for British war efforts would demonstrate their loyalty as British subjects and motivate the British to recognize the civil rights of Indians. By the time of the Second World War, Gandhi had altered his position, arguing that Indians had no obligation to support a British regime that denied them their freedom and independence. Gandhi’s views on non-violence were a matter of strategy as much as principle or morality. He regarded violent resistance to oppression as preferable to doing nothing at all although he also regarded non-violent resistance as superior to violence. Gandhi also expressed concern that non-violence might be used by some as a mask for cowardice. He once noted:

 

‘I do believe,’ he wrote, ‘that where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence.'” (Joan Valerie Bondurant, Conquest of Violence: The Gandhian Philosophy of Conflict, Princeton University Press, 1988, p. 28)

 

“At every meeting I repeated the warning that unless they felt that in non-violence they had come into possession of a force infinitely superior to the one they had and in the use of which they were adept, they should have nothing to do with non-violence and resume the arms they possessed before. It must never be said of the Khudai Khidmatgars that once so brave, they had become or been made cowards under Badshah Khan‘s influence. Their bravery consisted not in being good marksmen but in defying death and being ever ready to bear their breasts to the bullets.” (Bondurant, p.139)

 

Much of Gandhi’s reasoning behind his adoption of non-violence is likely traceably to two core ideas. First, the British Empire was in its twilight years and in a state of decline. Gandhi may well have recognized that eventually the British would no longer be able to afford to maintain India as a dependent colony and would have to grant her independence. Meanwhile, violence by the Indians would have only a provocative effect, strengthening the resolve of Britain to keep her rebellious colony in line. Secondly, the use of non-violence carried much weight in the court of world opinion. The sight of peaceful, non-violent Indian protestors being attacked by British soldiers and policemen could only serve to increase sympathy for the Indian cause on the international level. Violence might well alienate world opinion and the Indians might be condemned as terrorists whom the British were justified in repressing. A contemporary military historian, Martin Van Creveld, explains the immense propaganda value of creating the popular perception of operating from a position of weakness against an overwhelming and brutal enemy:

 

“In private life, an adult who keeps beating down on a five year old – even

such a one as originally attacked him with a knife – will be perceived as committing a crime; therefore he will lose the support of bystanders and end up by being arrested, tried and convicted. In international life, an armed force that keeps beating down on a weaker opponent will be seen as committing a series of crimes; therefore it will end up by losing the support of its allies, its own people, and its own troops. Depending on the quality of the forces – whether they are draftees or professionals, the effectiveness of the propaganda machine, the nature of the political process, and so on – things may happen quickly or take a long time to mature. However, the outcome is always the same. He (or she) who does not understand this does not understand anything about war; or, indeed, human nature.”

“In other words, he who fights against the weak – and the rag-tag Iraqi militias are very weak indeed – and loses, loses. He who fights against the weak and wins also loses. To kill an opponent who is much weaker than yourself is unnecessary and therefore cruel; to let that opponent kill you is unnecessary and therefore foolish. As Vietnam and countless other cases prove, no armed force however rich, however powerful, however, advanced, and however well motivated is immune to this dilemma. The end result is always disintegration and defeat; if U.S troops in Iraq have not yet started fragging their officers, the suicide rate among them is already exceptionally high. That is why the present adventure will almost certainly end as the previous one did. Namely, with the last US troops fleeing the country while hanging on to their helicopters’ skids.” (Martin Van Creveld, “Why Iraq Will End as Vietnam Did”, http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig5/crevald1.html)

 

An important criticism sometimes leveled at Gandhi involves the matter of his passive approach to the rise of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. Gandhi stated that it would have been preferable for the Jews to commit mass suicide rather than to allow the Germans to exterminate them en masse.

        

“The Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher’s knife. They

should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs.” (“The Gandhi

Nobody Knows”, Richard Grenier[From the magazine, “Commentary,”

March 1983, published monthly by the American Jewish Committee, New

York, NY.])

 

To Westerners, particularly Jews, such a statement no doubt seems inordinately extreme, an example of pacifism reductio ad absurdum. However, such a sentiment might be best understood within the context of Asian rather than Western culture. In some Asian traditions, the notion of suicide being preferable to defeat is commonly accepted. A prime example of this, of course, is the classical Japanese tradition of hari-kari. Even Japanese civilians would sometimes take their own lives rather than allow themselves to fall into the hands of their American enemies during WW2. In other words, these Japanese actually practiced what Gandhi suggested European Jews should do in the face of relentless persecution and eventual extermination by the Nazis. Indeed, it was the Tamil Tigers of India who first popularized the notion of the suicide bomber in the contemporary world. So perhaps Gandhi’s views on this question are better understood within the context of the “honor before life” value systems to be found within some other Asian traditions (Bushido, for example). Perhaps Islamic concepts of martyrdom also influenced Gandhi’s thinking in this area.

 

Defending the Oppressed

         

Gandhi’s efforts on behalf of the downtrodden sectors of Indian society are well-known. Throughout his lengthy career as a public figure, Gandhi undertook numerous campaigns to improve the position of workers, farmers, the untouchables and the lower castes, women, racial and religious minorities and others under attack by the status quo. One of his earliest efforts of this type was to organize serfs, landless peasants and small landowners in Champaran (in the Indian state of Bahir) against the landlords and British military forces that required them grow indigo (a profitable export crop for the British) rather than crops more suitable for their own immediate sustenance and survival. A constant theme of Gandhi’s ongoing crusades was his persistent emphasis on the importance of hygiene, sanitation and cleanliness. Some of his statements on this matter now seem quaint or archaic to the modern mind, but it was an issue of vital importance in pre-independence India, as poor hygiene and sanitation practices were a major public health problem.

 

When considering Gandhi’s work on behalf of the oppressed, it is important to remember that he would not have qualified as a “liberal”, either by contemporary standards or even by the Western standards of his time. For instance, Gandhi was always resolutely opposed to contraception, viewing it as an attack on the sanctity of life and he once debated the matter with the American feminist and pioneer advocate of birth control, Margaret Sanger.(“Mrs. Sanger’s Version”, by Margaret Sanger, in The Gandhi Reader, edited by Homer A. Jack, AMS Press, New York, 1956, p.306)  In this respect, Gandhi was no different from later religious humanitarians like Mother Theresa of Calcutta, but his thinking certainly went against progressive orthodoxy.

 

One of the areas of Indian life where Gandhi achieved his greatest success was in his efforts to curb some of the more extreme excesses concerning the treatment of the “untouchables” whom he renamed the “Harijan”, meaning “Children of God”. While his work in this area was obviously quite radical for its time, it is far from clear that Gandhi ever fully renounced the caste system itself. In many ways, he remained throughout his life a conservative-traditionalist Hindu, opposing the severities of caste discrimination but remaining committed to the varna system. His views on the role of the untouchables, or “Dalits” put him in conflict with the outspoken advocate of Dalits’ rights, Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar. Gandhi was much more traditional in his social outlook than Ambedkar, who supported birth control and criticized and attacked Hinduism as a religion of oppression, responsible for the inflicting the caste system on his people. He urged the Dalits to reject Hinduism and convert to Buddhism instead. Ambedkar also called for separate electorates for the Dalitsm which Gandhi opposed as divisive to the Indian people. Indeed, when the British granted separate electorates in the Communal Award of 1932, Gandhi went on a fast to expression opposition to the provision. Gandhi and Ambedkar eventually compromised with Ambedkar agreeing to drop the separate electorates in exchange for greater representation in the Congress Party for the Dalits and greater efforts by Hindu religious leaders to oppose caste discrimination.

 

Another area where Gandhi has come under criticism involves his views on racism and blacks. Following his return from South Africa, Gandhi said in a public speech:

Ours is one continued struggle against degradation sought to be inflicted upon us by the European, who desire to degrade us to the level of the raw kaffir whose occupation is hunting and whose sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife with, and then pass his life in indolence and nakedness (from a speech delivered September 26, 1896, Collected Works Volume 2, p. 74)

 

This passage is widely cited as indication that Gandhi held racist attitudes towards the black peoples of Africa, Asia and North America. If this were indeed the case, he would not have been particularly usual in this regard. Even the most progressive European thinkers of that time held similar views of blacks. For example, Bertrand Russell, widely regarded as the most liberal intellectual of his era, stopped short of advocating the sterilization of blacks only because, he argued, they possessed greater capabilities for manual labor. Also, the passage cited above was from a speech delivered by Gandhi very early in his career as an activist. Over the next fifty years, his views seemed to evolve considerably. He remarked in a 1947 radio interview:

 

“Those who agree that racial inequality must be removed and yet do nothing to fight the evil are impotent. I cannot have anything to say to such people…If you think of the vast size of Africa, the distance and natural obstacles separating its various parts, the scattered condition of its people and the terrible divisions among them, the task might well appear to be hopeless. But there is a charm which can overcome all these handicaps.” (Interview on All-India Radio, October 23, 1947. Government of India Information Service, Washington, D.C., Bulletin No. 3531)

 

Later in his career, Gandhi also corresponded with black activists in the United States, offering advice on how to apply his tactics towards the black struggle in North America. (Harijan, March 14, 1936). He also frequently expressed disapproval of the treatment of American blacks to his American visitors. (Louis Fischer, The Life of Mahatma Gandhi, Part II, p. 425)

 

Political and Economic Views of Gandhi

          

The central idea behind Gandhi’s political outlook was his insistence on the complete independence of India, not only political but economically, culturally, spiritually and morally. He was highly critical not only of British rule over India but also of efforts by the British to impose Western concepts of law, economics, philosophy and the relationship between humanity and nature on the Indians. Gandhi is well-known for his advocacy of boycotting imported foreign goods, particularly British textiles, by the Indians and his urging of the Indian people to begin spinning their own cloth. Some of his motivation for taking this position was clearly strategic in nature. He wanted to hit the British where it would hurt the most: in the pocketbook. However, Gandhi had several other important reasons for this position as well. One was to build unity among the Indian people in their struggle for independence. He insisted that persons from all layers of Indian society, from Brahmins to Dalits, should engage in the spinning of cloth. Another purpose to be served by this activity was the uplifiting of women. However, central to Gandhi’s emphasis on economic self-sufficiency was his critique and rejection of Western economic and cultural notions with their emphasis on materialism, consumerism, technology, and industrialization. Gandhi even remarked on occasion, only half in jest, that “he actually wouldn’t mind if the British remained in India, to police it, conduct foreign policy, and such trivia, if it would only take away its factories and railways.”(“The Gandhi Nobody Knows”, Richard Grenier[From the magazine, “Commentary,” March 1983, published monthly by the American Jewish Committee, New York, NY.])

         

Gandhi said of the British: “Money is their god”. He believed that the British has been able to achieve and maintain imperial domination over India partially because the Indians had internalized and adopted much of the materialistic ethos of the British. Gandhi regarded Western capitalism as having a corrupting effect on the human spirit and Indian society as it elevated the satisfaction of never-ending material wants to the highest value. Therefore, the transformation of India would have to first be a moral transformation before there could be an economic or political transformation. Gandhi observed that the British justified their colonial rule over India by claiming to have achieved a superior civilization whose virtues they were bringing to the Indians. The Indians had allowed their own enslavement and its continuation by adopting the values of the British. Gandhi’s criticism’s of British imperialism in India rested on three central points:

 

1) The British were an economic drain on India through domination of its industries and control over its trade.

2) India had as much right to sovereignty and self-rule as did the British.

3) The cultural integrity of India and its traditions must be preserved against the cultural imperialism of the British.

 

Gandhi regarded the conflict with Britain to be rooted not in a battle between East and West but between the ancient world and traditional society against modern industrial civilization. Traditional society was, in his view, oriented towards religion and spirituality while modern civilization was oriented toward materialism and technology. The resulting technocratic age brought with it the dehumanization of man as its result. He considered modern democratic regimes to be organized on the basis of voting blocks pursuing their own narrow, material self-interest and cultivating a population that, in spite of its higher literacy rates, was immensely susceptible to false propaganda generated by the establishment press. Gandhi did praise modern civilization for its spirit of scientific inquiry, its improvements in the areas of health and medicine and it organizational abilities, but felt the achievements of modernity had been put to a perverted usage. (Gandhi’s Political Philosophy, by Bhikhu Parekh, University of Notre Dame Press, 1989, pp. 11-35).

          

Gandhi was also highly critical of modern conceptions of the state. He regarded the modern state as impersonal, amoral, demanding uniformity and hostile to differences among communities, castes and sects. The state, in Gandhi’s view, functioned as a type of abstraction that had grown so large that it took on a life of its own. Individual citizens and state functionaries alike were simply cogs in a machine or flies in a wheel over which they had no personal control. One highly detrimental result of this arrangement of politics was the complete loss of any sense of personal or moral responsibility. A bureaucrat or official involved in the administration of the inhuman bureaucracy of the state could absolve himself of responsibility for the human or moral consequences of his actions by deferring to a higher authority, the abstract personage of the state itself, towards whom his relationship was that of an obedient and dutiful servant and nothing. Therefore, tyranny in its modern form was not traceable to the singular actions of individual kings or autocrats, but to the collection of action of individuals acting as automatons, responding to pressure imposed upon them by their place in an amoral, impersonal state machine.

         

Gandhi himself created a model for the political organization of an independent India that he called “ordered anarchy”, system of self-governing and self-sufficient local communities managed by “panchayats” of five persons elected annually by all literate persons in the community from ages of 18 to 50. These self-managed villages would then be organized into “expanding circles” of “takulas”, districts, and provinces. Each of these would at each level be a federation of the lower units and function with great autonomy from the central government, whose only purpose would be to hold the local communities together. Gandhi was also highly critical of the penal institutions maintained by the state, and argued against forms of criminal justice whose sole purpose was the retributive punishment of offenders. Instead, he favored more humane forms of rehabilitation.  On economic matters, Gandhi was a staunch opponent of both capitalism and communism. He regarded both systems as motivated by a materialist ethos that was foreign to the traditional spiritual life of India. In contrast to these, he proposed a system of “trusteeship” based on fostering a spirit of cooperation and responsibility between social classes. Gandhi wished to “socialize the means of production without nationalizing it” by encouraging employers to regard employees as family members whose welfare they were responsible for and by regulating the use of private property for the common good. Gandhi’s economic views at times put him in conflict with the Marxists who favored a class war between the capitalists and the proletariat. Gandhi rejected these views as fostering divisiveness and disunity among the Indian people and ultimately playing a subversive role in the struggle for national independence and national regeneration. (Parekh, pp.110-141).

 

Critics of Gandhi and the Conservative Hindu Backlash

         

Gandhi was a staunch proponent of the view that all Indians were part of a national brotherhood and community regardless of religion, ethnicity or caste. He was a tireless champion of religious toleration and deplored religious persecution of any kind. Indeed, Gandhi described himself as a practitioner of each of the major religious traditions:

 

“Thus if I could not accept Christianity either as a perfect, or the greatest, neither was I then convinced of Hinduism being such. Hindu defects were pressingly visible to me. If untouchability could be a part of Hinduism, it could but be a rotten part or an excrescence. I could not understand the raison d’etre of a multitude of sects and castes. What was the meaning of saying that the Vedas were the inspired Word of God? If they were inspired, why not also the Bible and the Koran? As Christian friends were endeavouring to convert me, so were Muslim friends. Abdullah Sheth had kept on inducing me to study Islam and of course he had always something to say regarding its beauty”. (Autobiography, p.137)

 

Gandhi regarded himself not only as a Hindu but “also a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist and a Jew”. He vigorously opposed those who either desired to partition India into separate nations for different religions or to create a national regime ordered on the basis of Hindu supremacy. His own vision was one of a unified but internally decentralized India that granted equal rights of citizenship to all persons irrespective of their religious identity. For this reason, Gandhi made many enemies of conservative Hindus and Muslims alike. Many traditional Hindus were appalled by Gandhi’s desire to ease caste restrictions or raise the status of women, and were equally appalled by his insistence upon equal toleration for all religions. Both Muslims and Hindus frequently accused Gandhi of not doing enough for their respective causes.

         

The greatest controversy of this type involved the partition of the Indian subcontinent following the achievement of independence. The Muslim League, led primarily by M.A. Jinnah, had long insisted that the predominately Muslim regions of northwestern and eastern India be separated into an independent nation, while Gandhi and his Indian National Congress thought such an idea to be absurd, observing that Indian Muslims and Hindus alike both spoke the same languages, shared similar styles of dress, engaged in commercial life with one another and maintained similar diets and entertainment interests. Gandhi regarded differences of religious observance as a private matter that the secular, democratic state that he preferred for India would play no role in. However, Muslim leaders insisted that as a minority, the Islamic community in India would achieve only the status of permanently disadvantaged minority following independence. The Muslim League had previously demanded a guarantee of a set minimum number of seats in the electoral system, just as the Dalits had demanded a similar arrangement for their own community.

 

The idea of a separate Islamic state caught on among Indian Muslims who feared discrimination at the hands of the Hindu majority. Also, the idea appealed to those Muslim who were fondly reminiscent of the earlier times when Muslims ruled India. Islamic feudal landlords opposed to the Indian National Congress’ call for land reform saw in the idea of partition a means of protecting their economic interests as did Islamic businessmen, civil servants and traders who viewed separatism as method of eliminating Hindu competitors. Gandhi and his allies like Jawaharlal Nehru accused the Muslim League of demagoguery and inciting religious bigotry. Nehru even compared the rhetoric of Islamic separatist leaders like Jinnah with the racist and anti-Semitic propaganda of the Nazis, a powerful accusation in the midst of the Second World War. Gandhi countered the arguments of the separatists by pointing to the examples of the United States, Canada and the USSR as unified nations with diverse peoples who managed to co-exist under a common political bond. As independence for India drew nearer and partition seemed inevitable, Gandhi resigned himself to the idea but still spoke against. As violence between Hindus and Muslims began to break out in 1946, the general consensus among Indian and British leaders alike was that partition was necessary to prevent a full-on civil war. (Gandhi and His Critics, by B. R. Nanda, Oxford University Press, Delhi, 1985, pp.77-97)

 

At the time of the partition in 1947, the disastrous decision was made to attempt to divide the police and military forces, along with the civilian civil administration, along religious lines. The result of this was the complete paralysis of government and of “law and order” as the partitioning process was taking place. Minority groups in various regions across India began to fear for their safety under a new regime led by a hostile majority and impassioned majorities began to engage in acts of violence against local minorities. Millions, perhaps tens of millions, of refugees fled towards regions where members of their religion were a majority. Large-scale massacres occurred during this time. Gandhi managed to curb the violence in Calcutta when he visited the city and went on a “fast until death” in protest of the upheaval. So powerful was Gandhi’s presence and reputation that the citizens of Calcutta apparently ended their pogroms rather be make themselves responsible for the death of Gandhi. Gandhi then went to Delhi, another scene of much bloodshed, and applied the same tactic. Gandhi’s fast had a great impact and the Indian government agreed to pay funds owed to Pakistan there were being held in the dispute over the province of Kashmir. Gandhi also won the sympathy of many Muslims who had been made suspicious of him by Islamic separatist propaganda that portrayed Gandhi as hostile to Muslim interests. Violence between Hindus and Muslims began to decline. On January 30, 1948, Gandhi was assassinated by a Hindu militant who accused Gandhi of making too many concessions to the Muslims. (Nanda, pp. 98-110)

 

Gandhi’s assassin was Nathuram Godse, a follower of the militant Hindu nationalist Vinayak Savarkar. In the controversy concerning the division of India’s assets between India and Pakistan, Gandhi had taken a concessionary approach to the Muslims of Pakistan, though he personally was strongly opposed to the partition. Savarkar was one of Gandhi’s harshest critics, believing him to be far too accommodating to minorities and strongly disapproving of Gandhi’s pacifism and non-violent methods. Savarkar favored a strong nationalist regime for India, Hindu-dominated and militarily powerful. Godse had been a member of Savarkar’s Hindu Mahasabha and apparently the two men had known one another. Savarkar was suspected of involvement in Gandhi’s murder and was arrested and indicted but acquitted at trial. Much controversy remains concerning the degree of Savarkar’s involvement with the assassination of Gandhi. (AG Noorani, Savarkar and Hindutva: The Godse Connection, LeftWord, New Delhi, 2002)

    

 

An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth, by Mohandas K. Gandhi

(Beacon Press, Boston, 1957)

 

Gandhi: The Power of Pacifism, by Catherine Clement

(Harry N. Abrams Inc., New York, 1989)

 

The Life of Mahatma Gandhi, by Louis Fischer

(Harper and Brothers Publishers, New York, 1950)

 

The Gandhi Reader: A Source Book of His Life and Writings, edited by Homer A. Jack

(AMS Press, New York, 1956)

 

Gandhi’s Political Philosophy: A Critical Examination, by Bhikhu Parekh

(University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, Indiana, 1989)

 

Gandhi and His Critics, B.R. Nanda

(Oxford University Press, Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, 1985)

 

The Essential Gandhi: An Anthology of His Writings on His Life, Work, and Ideas

by Mahatma Gandhi, edited by Louis Fischer with a preface by Eknath Easwaran

(Vintage Books, a division of Random House, New York, 1962, copyright renewed 1990)

 

Indian Critiques of Gandhi, edited by Harold Coward

(State University of New York Press, 2003)

 

Mahatma Gandhi: Political Saint and Unarmed Prophet, by Dhananjay Keer

(Popular Prakashan, Bombay, 1973)

 

Gandhi: Profiles in Power, by David Arnold

(Pearson Education Limited, Edinburgh, 2001)

 

Gandhi’s Dilemma: Non-Violent Principles and Nationalist Power, by Manfred B. Steger

(Palgrave Macmillan, 1st edition, 2000)

 

“The Ambivalence About Gandhi: Southasia’s Difficulties with Gandhi’s Legacy” by Ashis Nandy

Himal Southasian, March-April 2006, Volume 18, No. 5

 

“Gandhi and the Politics of Non-Violence” by Meneejeh Moradian and David Whitehouse

International Socialist Review, Issue 14, October-November 2000

 

“Gandhi As a Political Strategist” by Gene Sharp

(Porter Sargent, Boston, 1979)

 

“Gandhi’s Vision and Values” by Vivek Pinto

(Sage Publications, New Delhi, 1998)

 

“The Great Trial of 1922: Chauri Chaura and Gandhi’s Vision of Responsibility”

by Niranjan Ramakrishnan, Counterpunch, March 20, 2004

 

“Country Studies-India-Mahatma Gandhi”

http://countrystudies.us/india/20.htm

 

“Gandhi: The Political, Personal and Practical Revolutionary” by George Woodcock

Resource Center for Non-Violence, Santa Cruz, California

 

“Was Gandhi an Anarchist?” by Josh Fattal

Peace Power: Berkeley’s Journal of Principled Non-Violence and Conflict Transformation. Volume 2, Issue 1, Winter 2006

 

“Village Republics” by Andre Beteille

The Hindu, September 3, 2002

 

“Gandhi’s Swadeshi: The Economics of Permanence” by Satish Kumer

The Case Against the Global Economy and for a Turn Toward the Local, edited by Jerry Mander and Edward Goldsmith

 

Conquest of Violence: The Gandhian Philosophy of Conflict, by Joan Valerie Bondurant

(Princeton University Press, 1988)

 

“Why Iraq Will End as Vietnam Did”, by Martin Van Creveld http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig5/crevald1.html)

“The Gandhi Nobody Knows”, Richard Grenier[From the magazine, “Commentary,” March 1983, published monthly by the American Jewish Committee, New York, NY.)

 Savarkar and Hindutva: The Godse Connection, by A. G. Noorani, LeftWord, New Delhi, 2002

 

 

 

 

 

Updated News Digest August 16, 2009 Reply

Why Read the Sunday Paper When You Can Read AttacktheSystem.Com!

“You’re cultivating disrespect for government in your children!” protested a relative not long ago. “Every way I can think of doing so, with each opportunity that presents itself, every single day that God sends me!” I responded. Children are never too young to be taught to despise the State, to distrust its agents, and to avoid cooperating in any way with the mechanism of official plunder, deception, and coercion. Parents should seek to instill such attitudes in their children as soon as possible, if for no other reason than to protect them from being abused at the hands of those employed by what Orwell might have called, with suitable irony, the Ministry of Compassion — that is, those employed by the official child-snatching apparatus.
                                                                          -William Norman Grigg

Problems and Priorities: What Issues Most Concern Americans NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll

Live Free or Blow Hard by Jack Hunter

An Antiwar Effort Only the Right Can Lead by Dr. John V. Walsh

Why I Am A Radical Conservative by Jack Hunter

Obamageddon by Justin Raimondo

Nader Was Right: Liberals Are Going Nowhere With Obama by Chris Hedges

Unspinning the Unemployment Numbers by Paul Craig Roberts

Razing Japan to the Ground: U.S. War Crimes in WW2 Daniel Ellsberg interviewed by Scott Horton

The Case for Leaving Iraq-Now! by Tim McGirk

The Israel Lobby May Be Headed Towards Obsolescence by Michelle Goldberg

The Persistence of Empire by David Bromwich

Is the Pro-Israel Lobby Panicking? by Rami G. Khouri

Lost in Military Limbo by Tom Engelhardt, Sarah Lazare, and Dahr Jamail

Don’t Make Colombia Another Afghanistan by Teo Ballve

The Great American Plutocracy by Charles Burris

Chomsky on Iran by Niusha Boghrati

There Is No Recession; It’s a Planned Demolition by Mike Whitney

Pink Slip Nation: Get Used to It by Gary North

Sickos by Richard Spencer

Lincoln’s Appeal to Marxists by Harrison Bergeron 2

Coming Soon: Anarchy from Infoshop.Org

Creating a European Indigenous Peoples’ Movement from The Brussels Journal

Who Owns Our Jobs? by John Medaille

People Die in Obama’s Unarmed Chicago by Karen De Coster

“Anti-Racism” Hysterics Reach New Low by Riva Richmond

11:20 am  from Rad Geek People’s Daily

Tax-Feeders and Manufactured “Crimes” by William Norman Grigg

Chauvinism for Sissies by Scott Locklin

Angry White Men by Pat Buchanan

Setting the Right in the Right Direction by Red Phillips

Tax-Feeders and the New Debtors Prisons by William Norman Grigg

Obama Seeks to Block Abuse Photos by Eli Clifton

Distracted Driving Summit? by Karen DeCoster

Doomsday: Pros and Cons by Arnaud De Borchgrave

Learning from Past Exit Strategies: The American Colonies by Stanley Weintraub

Indignant Government Rhetoric on Torture Rings Hollow by Clive Stafford Smith

An Army Man Changes His Mind by Wendy Murray

The Man with the Plan for Bananastan by Jeff Huber

Hamas 2.0: The Islamic Resistance Movement Grows Up by Michael Broning

Obama’s Acting Stupidly in Afghanistan by Stephen M. Walt

Secret Prisons and Gag Orders Continue Under Obama by Thomas Eddlem

Letting Cheney Off the Hook by Joanne Mariner

Shouting for the State by Lew Rockwell

Obama’s Healthcare Horror by Camille Paglia

 Small Government Caused Our Current Problems? by Robert Higgs

Carl Schmitt Appreciation Society (hat tip to Chris Donnellan)

Prosecutorial Totalitarianism by Bill Anderson

We Who Are Against the French Revolution

Police State Healthcare by William Norman Grigg

How I Wrote 1,000 Columns for Antiwar.Com by Justin Raimondo

The Ever Present Military Option by Charles Pena

Big Brother May Be Watching You…Again by David Kramer

The Truth About Iran in Iraq Gareth Porter interviewed by Scott Horton

Kudos to Bill Clinton? by Bill Clinton

Gitmo Prosecution Witnesses Paid Daphne Eviatar interviewed by Scott Horton

Is a Political Solution in Afghanistan Possible? by William Pfaff

Israel Threatens Lebanon from The Daily Star

The Thirty Years War by Robert Dreyfuss

Getting Away with Torture by Deepak Tripathi

Eric Holder’s Cover-Up by Jacob Hornberger

Addicted to War: America’s Brutal Pipe Dream in Afghanistan by Chris Floyd

White House Opening to Hezbollah, Hamas? by Robert Dreyfuss

Is It Now a Crime to be Poor? by Barbara Ehrenreich

Second Class Citizens by Bay Area National Anarchists

Those Who Can’t Do and Those Who Can’t Teach by TGGP

Obama’s Authoritarian Style by James Taranto

Milton Friedman Unraveled  by Murray Rothbard

 The Obama Way of War by Richard Spencer

Why Are Internment Camps Being Built? by Chuck Baldwin

The Return to Depression Era Economics from No Third Solution

Thoughts on Localism by J.L. Wall

Where Is the $PLC on Panthergate?  by Ellison Lodge

Breaking the Bank by Sean Scallon

Strip Kristol and Podhoretz of their Medal of Freedom by Jack Ross

Our Alarming Economic Future Bob Murphy interviewed by Lew Rockwell

Wag the Dog, Again by Philip Giraldi

Pot Is Safer Than Booze  by Paul Armentano

The Silence of the Lefties Justin Raimondo interviewed by Scott Horton

Patients, Beware! by Hannah Borno

Anatomy of the Warfare State Robert Higgs interviewed by Scott Horton

The Best Goldman-Sachs Apology Yet by Matt Taibbi

Direct Action: An Ethnography by David Graeber

Philadelphia G-20 Info-Session and Planning Meeting from Infoshop.Org

Unhealthy Debate by Tom Harnden

I Hate to Bother You  by Eduardo Galeano

Innovation in the World of Hate? by Lila Rajiva

Breaking Eggs to Make “Libertarian” Omelets by Kevin Carson

Obama, Bush and the Limits of Power by Anthony Gregory

Line in the Sand: The State Sovereignty Movement by Timothy Baldwin

What to do When They Come for You by William Norman Grigg

You Can’t Fight City Hall, But You Can Pee on the Steps and Run by Gary North

The Surveillance Society Marches On by Wilton Alston

Posse Comitatus Act R.I.P. by David Kramer

Why Are We in Afghanistan?  by Justin Raimondo

Bombings Worse Than Hiroshima and Nagasaki by Laurence Vance

Who’s Un-American? by Jack Hunter

Why a Debtors’ Revolt Would Work by Marshall Auerback

Big Government=Low Wages by Peter Schiff

War Unwinnable by Pat Buchanan

Health Plans and Death Plans by Alexander Cockburn

My Son is Sotomayor’s Ghost by Paul Gottfried

Astroturf by Ilana Mercer

Repressive Tolerance? 

“We’re White Punks on Dope!”: Anthem of the Anarcho-Leftoid Movement?

 

 Weekly Reading of Scripture:

 The State: Its Historic Role by Peter Kropotkin

For Community: The Communitarian Anarchism of Gustav Landauer by Larry Gambone

Woman Suffrage by Emma Goldman

The Origins and Ideals of the Modern School by Francisco Ferrer

A Nation of Sheep, Ruled by Wolves, Owned by Pigs

The Revolution Within Anarchism 

Forty Years in the Wilderness? 

Liberty and Populism: Building An Effective Resistance Movement for North America

The Revolution Within Anarchism: Goodbye, Ultra-Leftism; Hello, Pan-Secessionism 14

For any movement or system of thought to remain relevant or dynamic, it must possess the internal capability of periodically reassessing its present course and shifting its focus and direction. Thus far, political anarchism has experienced two distinct stages. The first of these was the era of “classical” anarchism. Roughly defined, this was the period between the Marx/Bakunin split in the 1870s and the defeat of the Spanish anarchists in the 1930s. The second stage began during the 1960s with the emergence of a brand of anarchism that internalized the ideological framework of the New Left, and it is this framework that still prevails at the present time.

The classical anarchist movement was primarily oriented towards proletarian revolution and the historic labor movement. This was appropriate as the “labor question” was the principal political struggle of the time. The New Left-influenced anarchist movement (“neo-anarchism”) oriented itself towards the movements that emerged during its own era. These included “anti-racism” (for instance, the movement against American and South African racial apartheid systems), “anti-colonialism” (opposition to the Vietnam War and other manifestations of imperialist aggression), “the womens’ movement” (second wave feminism), “gay liberation” (homosexuals were previously regarded as criminals, deviants or mentally ill by the wider society), the ecology movement, a variety of tendencies collectively known as “counterculturalism”  and other comparable but lesser known movements, all of which had the purpose of challenging traditional institutions, systems of authority, social practices, cultural norms and so forth. The overwhelming majority of contemporary anarchists continue to function within this particular paradigm.

However, the question needs to be asked as to whether this paradigm is really appropriate in the early 21st century. If it were found to be inappropriate, what might the alternative be? In more recent times, an number of tendencies have emerged within the anarchist milieu that have challenged the dominant New Left-derived paradigm. These include primitivists, eco-anarchists, anarcho-capitalists, anarcho-monarchists, national-anarchists, tribal anarchists, anarcho-pluralists, a variety of ideologies that might be collectively labeled “free-market anti-capitalists”, post-left anarchists, Christian anarchists, and a number of other perspectives. While there are significant differences between these tendencies, and each of these rejects the dominant New Left paradigm with varying degrees of consistency or fervor, collectively they compromise a dissident force within anarchism that seeks to move past the current second stage in the history of anarchism and into a new era.

The two most serious weaknesses of contemporary anarchism are illustrated by the opening paragraph of the Wikipedia entry on anarchism:

Anarchism is a political philosophy encompassing theories and attitudes which consider the state, as compulsory government, to be unnecessary, harmful, and/or undesirable, and favors the absence of the state (anarchy.)Specific anarchists may have additional criteria for what constitutes anarchism, and they often disagree with each other on what these criteria are. According to The Oxford Companion to Philosophy “there is no single defining position that all anarchists hold, and those considered anarchists at best share a certain family resemblance.”

Among many contemporary anarchists, there is an observable tendency to ignore the struggle against the state, or the treat the battle against the state as only one matter on a laundry list of preferred causes, usually those of a conventionally leftist or countercultural nature. This is the first weakness. The other is the matter of sectarianism, i.e., setting an amount of “additional criteria for what constitutes anarchism” that is so large that it becomes self-defeating when it comes to the matter of building an actual movement that can wield political influence. 

There needs to be a revolution within the anarchist movement itself. This should be a revolution that re-orients the anarchist movement towards the primary anarchist objective of state abolitionism. Second, there needs to be a shift in contemporary anarchist thought and action that involves a retreat from the current tunnel-visioned focus on ultra-leftism and counterculturalism. A new focus that is broader and that speaks to a wider variety of issues and population groups is necessary. Third, there needs to be an evaluation of tactics, and the adoption of new tactics that are relevant to current political realities.

An interesting list of historic anarchist communities can be viewed here. One thing that is immediately noticeable about these anarchist polities from the past is how different many of them were from one another. Consequently, it is probable that in a civilization where anarchist communities became widespread there would be wide variation in the specific ideological, cultural or structural content of these communities. This automatically means that the sectarian differences between competing strands within anarchism are irrelevant. Different kinds of anarchists will form different kinds of communities in those geographical regions where their own tendencies are prevalent. For instance, anarcho-communists and anarcho-capitalists, leftist anti-racist anarchists and national-anarchists, anarcho-futurists and primitivists, gay anarchists and Christian anarchists, anarcha-feminists and anarcho-monarchists, may not even consider one another to be “true” anarchists, but these battles simply do not matter if different kinds of anarchists are simply “doing their own thing” within the context of their own communities, institutions and organizations.

How, in a nation-state like the United States, could an anarchist movement become large enough, or influential or powerful enough, to actually carry out a revolution rivaling that of, for instance, the Spanish anarchists of the 1930s? Clearly the anarchist movement in North America could never do such a thing, given its small size and narrow focus. But what about a much larger popular movement, in which anarchists assume leadership roles, and with a much broader focus than what is found in the anarchist milieu at present?

Read this essay by the military historian Martin Van Creveld on the present decline of the state as an institution. Now, read this series of articles on the possible scenarios that will bring about the downfall of the American regime itself. Then read this review of a book that describes how Americans are in the process of sorting themselves out into communities specifically oriented towards their own political, cultural or lifestyle interests. Now, take a look at this opinion poll showing the amount of support for secessionist movements in the U.S., and the surprising nature of these numbers. Then take a look at two books (here and here) which offer us an alternative economic paradigm beyond the standard “big business vs big government” false dichotomy.

My friends, these works contain the ideas and information necessary to develop a popular revolutionary movement in North America. This essay is an attempt to synthesize these ideas and develop a comprehensive strategy for their application. No single reader is likely to agree with every argument or position taken in that essay, but its purpose is to “get the ball rolling” concerning the debate as to how anarchist revolution in North America will actually be carried out. And this essay is a discussion of considerations concerning time frames.

The single idea of state abolitionism will never be popular enough to become a mass movement. Most people simply are not that averse to political authority. However, the idea of secession has its roots in American history, culture and tradition. Therefore, anarchists should simply work to develop their own independent enclaves reflecting the value systems of their particular sect of anarchism, encourage other secession movements, and work to popularize the idea of secession. An effort should be made to appeal to those demographic groups most under attack by the state, those with single issues that put them in conflict with the state, and those who have the least to lose and most to gain by rejecting the state. 

Further, anarchists should position themselves as the upholders of the economic interests of ordinary people. This opinion poll   indicates that the issues of most concern to the public at large at present are unemployment, government spending and healthcare. What, if anything, do anarchists plan to do about these matters? How many individual anarchists have even given any thought to such topics? There are some ideas on these here, here, and here. If you do not like these, then come up with something of your own.

Particularly problematic is the question of people and groups with polar opposite views on many issues participating in the same movement. For instance, the conflicts between the various anarchist sects (Anarchist People of Color and Crimethinc come immediately to mind), or the conflict between secessionists holding opposing cultural or ideological perspectives. No doubt, there are some people who will not enter into a movement that includes others with whom they strongly disagree on certain questions no matter what. These individuals will simply have to fall by the wayside. The proper response to such questions is the “good riddance” argument.  In a decentralized political system, with voluntary association and community autonomy, leftist anti-racist anarchists and national-anarchists need not have any association with one another, nor anarcho-capitalists and anarcho-communists, nor gays and religious conservatives, nor racists and racial minorities, nor snobby rich people and slummy poor people, nor druggies and straight edges, nor feminists and male chauvinist pigs. Nor Crimethinc and Anarchist People of Color. Everyone wins but the state, the ruling class and the empire.

Updated News Digest August 9, 2009 Reply

Why Read the Sunday Paper When You Can Read AttacktheSystem.Com!

Quotes of the Week:

“America is just the country that how all the written guarantees in the world for freedom are no protection against tyranny and oppression of the worst kind. There the politician has come to be looked upon as the very scum of society.”

“The law is an adroit mixture of customs that are beneficial to society, and could be followed even if no law existed, and others that are of advantage to a ruling minority, but harmful to the masses of men, and can be enforced on them only by terror.”

“Have not prisons – which kill all will and force of character in man, which enclose within their walls more vices than are met with on any other spot of the globe – always been universities of crime?”

                                                                                                              -Peter Kropotkin

Against Anarcho-Inadequacy: National-Anarchist Reflections on Race, Tribes and Identity by Andrew Yeoman

How Is America Going to End? Who’s Most Likely to Secede? by Josh Levin

The End of America 2009: Special Series

Anarchic Patriotism by Mandolyna Theodoracopulos

Who Was Right? Huxley or Orwell by Stuart McMillen

“Culturally Sensitive” Imperialism by Justin Raimondo

The Greatest Depression in History by Andrew Gavin Marshall

Why the State Sovereignty and Secession Movements? by Brian Roberts

MOLOCH: Mass Production Industry as a Statist Construct by Kevin Carson

The Silence of the Sheep by William S. Lind

Listen Up, “Anti-Racists”: It’s Not Just the Dark-Skinned Folks Who Are Victimized by the PIGS by Ted Rall

Anarchism, State-Socialism and Healthcare Reform by Gary Chartier

The Most Inclusive Day Ever  by Nina Kouprianova

The Folly and Wickedness of War by Lawrence Vance

The Return of the Bomb by Justin Raimondo

The Expiring Economy by Paul Craig Roberts

Cruise Missile Liberals Jeremy Scahill interviewed by Scott Horton

National Bankruptcy by Peter Schiff

The Belief in Regenerative War: Why So Many American Intellectuals Supported the Iraq War by Jackson Lears

National Security State by Jon Taplin

Export Cars, Not Democracy by Philip Giraldi

Wham Bam Bananastan by Jeff Huber

Mercs, Murder and the American Way by Chris Floyd

Who’s To Blame When Vets Turn Homicidal? by Kelley Vlahos

Obama’s Israel Albatross by Elaine C. Hagopian

The Hiroshima Cover-Up Greg Mitchell interviewed by Scott Horton

It’s KGB-Gestapo Time by William Norman Grigg

Obama and the Israeli Lobby by Anthony DiMaggio

“Civil Liberties Extremist” Glenn Greenwald interviewed Scott Horton

America’s Evil Asian Empire Eric Margolis interviewed by Scott Horton

The War We Can’t Win  by Andrew Bacevich

Life Under Communism: East Germans Prefer the GDR 

Let the Military Commissions Die by David Frakt

Rein in the Human Rights Bureaucracy by Peter Worthington

Jobs of Our Own: Building a Stakeholder Society from The Distributist Review

Time to Go, Grandma! by Pat Buchanan

Perpetual War for Perpetual War by Jeff Huber

No More Nuclear Mass Murder by Frida Berrigan

Whitewashing CIA Crimes by Sherwood Ross

Obama and His Media on the Economy by Lew Rockwell

What to do When There’s No Doctor by Gary F. Arnet

Away With Libertarian Opportunists by Dylan Hales

The “Patriotic” Spy by Justin Raimondo

Turning the U.S. Army Against Americans by Dan Kennedy

Bubba Scores a Reversal by Gordon Prather

Tomb of Peacemakers by Eric Margolis

FOXy Feminists by Paul Gottfried

The Empire is Running on Empty by Nebojsa Malic

It Pays to Have a Nuke by Alexander Cockburn

Squaring Dupont Circle by Eve Tusnet

Playing Politics with a Ghost by Scott Ritter

The Real Lessons of the Henry Louis Gates Affair by Radley Balko

Privacy is Dead in America by Gary D. Barnett

Adding Up the True Costs of Two Wars by Joseph Stiglitz and Linda J. Bilmes

Read Between the Lines by John Pilger

Make a Difference, Make a Living Gary North interviewed by Lew Rockwell

Obama Scales Up the Terror from Francois Tremblay

The Stand for Sovereignty by Timothy Baldwin

The Future is Going to Be a Lot Worse by James Howard Kunstler

Why Be Afraid of the State? by Harry Goslin

The Media is the Propaganda Arm of the State by Glenn Greenwald

What Samuel Said About Solomon by Frank Chodorov

The Khmer Rouge Goes on Trial Michael Paterniti interviewed by Scott Horton

Acceptable Bigotry? by Karen DeCoster

One is Six Long Term Jobless is Dead Within Ten Years by Laura Clark

The Limits of Power: An Interview with Andrew Bacevich by Aaron Leonard

PIGS Make National Guardsmen Eat Piss Dirt by William Norman Grigg

The Destruction of the Black Middle Class by Dedrick Muhammed and Barbara Ehrenreich

Grandfather Assaulted by PIGS by William Norman Grigg

The Myths of Afghanistan by William Blum

PIGS Shoot Infant to Death by William Norman Grigg

Is Food Not Bombs White Supremacist? from Bay Area National Anarchists

Sarah-Phobia? by Lila Rajiva

The Key to Understanding the State by Charles Burris

8:15 am by Rad Geek

Modern Day Daniel by Chuck Baldwin

 

A Nation of Sheep, Ruled by Wolves, Owned by Pigs

The Fruits of Anarchist "Anti-Racism" 9

“Certain attitudes derived from the New Left and the so-called counter-culture permeated neo-anarchism and had a deleterious effect upon it. Chief among these was elitism. It was the common belief among the New Left that the majority of the population were “coopted”, “sold-out”, “racist” and “sexist”. For the hippie-left, most people were considered to be beer-swilling, short-haired rednecks. Much of this youthful hostility was directed against their parents and hence was more of an expression of adolescent rebellion than political insight. With the exception of those who opted for anarcho-syndicalism, most neo-anarchists carried this contemptuous attitude with them. The majority was written-off as hopelessly corrupted and this attitude still continues today. Such contempt is in complete contrast to classical anarchism, which even at its most vanguardist, saw itself as only a catalyzer or spokesman for the masses. While rejecting the majority, they became infatuated with minorities. The New Left, scorning workers, turned to racial minorities and the “poor” as possible agents of social change. Native people, prisoners, drop-outs, homosexuals, all have been given a high profile, virtually to the exclusion of the rest of the population.”

                                                              -Larry Gambone, Sane Anarchy, 1995

A recent article in the Intelligence Report, the journal of the state-connected, crony-capitalist, cop-friendly, “private” espionage and surveillance agency known the Southern Poverty Law Center remarked: “Unifying anarchists has been likened to herding cats. But if there is one theme that most anarchists will rally around, it is that of stamping out racism, especially organized racism driven by white nationalist ideology. Many younger anarchists are members of Anti-Racist Action, a national coalition of direct-action “antifa” (short for “anti-fascist”) groups that confront neo-Nazis and racist skinheads in the street, often resulting in violence.”

And what do these anarchists have to show for all of this “anti-racist” zealotry? How well are these anarchists regarded by actually existing people of color for their efforts? An item that has recently been circulating in the anarchist milieu with the revealing title, “Smack a White Boy, Round Two“, demonstrates just how much “solidarity” is felt towards the mostly, white, middle-class, left-anarchist movement by the supposed beneficiaries of its anti-racism:

Dread locked white punks, crusties with their scabies friends, and traveling college bros swarmed a space on the dividing line of gentrification in the Bloomfield/Garfield/Friendship area late July 2009 in Pittsburgh for the annual CrimethInc convergence. Whereas previous CrimethInc convergences had been located deep in wooded areas, this particular one took place in a poor, black neighborhood that is being pushed to the borders by entering white progressive forces.

There were those that had experienced CrimethInc’s oppressive culture and people for years and others who had experienced enough oppression after just a few days. Our goals were to stop CrimethInc, their gentrifying force, and to end the convergence right then and there for all that they had done.

Just a few blocks away, eight anarchist/autonomous/anti-authoritarian people of color* gathered to discuss a direct confrontation. We arrived from different parts of these stolen lands of the Turtle Island. Some came from the Midwest, some from the Northeast, some born and raised in Pittsburgh. Altogether we represented 7 different locations, half of us socialized as female a variety of sizes, skin color, with identities of queers, trans, gender-queers, gender variants, and womyn. With little time and a desire for full consensus, we quickly devised a plan.

The majority of the CrimethInc kids were in the ballroom on the second floor watching and participating in a cabaret. A group of us began gathering attendees’ packs, bags, shoes, banjos, and such from the other rooms on the second floor and moving it all down the hallway towards the stairs. We had gone pretty unnoticed, mostly due to lack of lighting.

Once those rooms had been emptied, it was time for the main event. We gathered at the ballroom’s doorway furthest from the stairs following the final act of the cabaret.

On the count of three. One, two, three!” one APOCista said.

Get the fuck out!”, we all shouted.

And the eviction began. One apocer began reading ‘An Open Letter to White Radicals/Progressives’, while the others began yelling at the attendees to gather their things and leave. Irritated by their continued inaction after about 10 minutes or so, one of the people involved in the action shouted,

This is not an act! Get your shit, or we’ll remove it for you!”

So much for the claims of anarchists to be exemplars of multicultural brotherly love. Now, before I get to other questions, let me say that I actually think the “Anarchist People of Color” group who carried out this “eviction” had a point. Many white leftists and progressives do indeed regard non-whites as children in need of rescue by enlightened folks such as themselves, and often assume a paternalistic attitude when dealing with people of color. And while I’m not so sure that “gentrification” by white anarchist kids is quite on the level of gentrification by upper-middle class, affluent, professional people organized into state-connected “civic organizations” and “business associations”, and operating in collusion with crony-capitalist “developers”, the overall point is still well-taken. Gentrification does indeed frequently assume the character of a kind of urban imperialism, and white, middle-class “progressives” who never tire of wearing their racial liberalism on their sleeves are often at the forefront of such efforts. Indeed, it might be argued that gentrification serves the same purpose in modern urban societies as the dispossession of native or indigenous peoples’ in frontier or colonial societies, i.e., naked robbery carried out under the banner of enlightenment, progress, paternalism or cultural and class chauvinsim. Some would go even further and argue that mass immigration serves a similar purpose, e.g., economic and cultural dispossession of the indigenous poor and working class in order to provide labor for capitalists, clients for social services bureaucrats and voters for political parties and ethnic lobbies. But that might be “racism”.

The obsession with “racism” exhibited by modern leftists appears to be rooted in a number of things. Some are the obvious, e.g., the political, cultural and intellectual backlash against such horrors as Nazism, South African apartheid, “Jim Crow” in the American South, the Vietnam War and other manifestions of extreme colonialism. Another is the need for the radical Left to find a new cause once the horrors of Communism were revealed. Still another is the universalist ethos that emerged from Enlightenment rationalism. Yet another is the adolescent rebellion against society mentioned by Gambone. And another is the quasi-Christian moralism exhibited by many left-wingers: “Love thy exotically colored neighbor.”

It’s like this, my fellow anarchist comrades: World War Two is over. Hitler is dead. George Wallace is dead. Bull Conner is dead. Jim Crow has been relegated into the dustbin of history. Apartheid is finished, and Nelson Mandela eventually became South Africa’s head of state. In case you haven’t been paying attention, the United States now has a black President. Many of the largest American cities have black-dominated governments. In the wider society, “racism” has become the ultimate sin, much like communism or homosexuality might have been in the 1950s. By continuing to beat the dead horse of “white supremacy”, anarchists are simply making our movement look like fools.

No doubt many reading this will raise the issues of the high rates of imprisonment among blacks and Hispanics, police brutality, the medical neglect of illegal immigrants in detention centers, or the high unemployment rates in American inner cities. Do you really think that no whites have ever been adversely affected by these things? Do you think there are no whites in jail or prison for frivolous reasons? Who receive shoddy medical care? Who are adversely affected by state-capitalism and plutocratic rule? Who are subject to police harrassment or violence, or who are shabbily treated by agents or bureaucrats of the state? Who are subject to social ostracism because of their class, culture, religion or lifestyle?

There is certainly nothing wrong with opposing the genuine oppression of people of other races or colors, and many anarchists and other radicals engage in laudable displays of support for the people of Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Tibet, Latin America, and indigenous ethnic groups who are subjected to occupation or imperialist aggression. Yet, the obsession with “racism” found among many Western radicals has become pathological in nature. Whenever I encounter these “anti-racism” hysterics, I am reminded of the cultic, fundamentalists religious sects, where no amount of devotion to the cause is ever good enough. Go to church three times a week? Not good enough, you need to be there six times a week. And there is little doubt that the war between Anarchist People of Color and Crimethinc will produce a great deal of “What are we doing wrong, us shitty white supremacists?” self-flagellation among many”anti-racist” left-anarchists.

This obsession with “racism” on the part of many anarchists might be worth it if it had the effect of recruiting or converting many thousands or millions of people of color to our cause.  Yet, the simple truth is that decades of anti-racism hysteria has produced an anarchist movement that is as white as it ever was. This does not mean that there are never any non-whites to be found in anarchist circles. Of course there are. But are they representative of the cultural norms of the ethnic or racial groups from where they came? Not in my experience. Instead, the relatively small number of people of color who can be found in North American anarchist circles are usually immigrants from other places, or products of ethnic minority cultures that have assimilated into a wider white culture, for instance, blacks who grew up in white middle-class neighborhoods or minorities who participate in white youth subcultures, like punk rock. Honestly speaking, what would a typical African-American or Latino think if they wandered into the standard anarchist discussion group and found themselves in the midst of the usual anarchist banter about “racism”? What would they think, other than, “What a bunch of freaks!”

This does not mean that anarchists should become “pro-racist”. It simply means that it would be more productive if anarchists would simply re-orient themselves towards the ostensible purpose of anarchism, i.e., “a political philosophy encompassing theories and attitudes which consider the state, as compulsory government, to be unnecessary, harmful, and/or undesirable, and promote the elimination of the state or anarchy.” I recently came across a Facebook page with the heading “The Other Anarchists” which described itself thus: “For those who wish to see the state abolished, but are not nihilists, terrorists, or idiots. Including some: free market anti-capitalists, anarcho-capitalists, anarcho-monarchists, voluntaryists, social anarchists, Christian anarchists, Green anarchists, and our fellow travelers ( [non-violent] Luddites, paleoconservatives, minarchists, left-conservatives, retroprogressives, and the like).

This would seem to be about right. Perhaps we can work with the nihilists and terrorists, but the idiots really need to be shown the door. What should anarchists do about “racism”? Just forget about it. Yes, you read that right and if you need more elaboration, watch this. And this. Many anarchists engage in many worthwhile projects that many different kinds of people can benefit from, like antiwar activism, labor solidarity, prisoner defense, support for the homeless, resistance to police brutality, the protection of animals from cruelty, environmental preservation, alternative media or alternative education.  These are issues that transcend color lines. Just stick to these and let “people of color” work out their own problems for themselves.

The APOC/Crimethinc battle may well be indicative of what the future of the political Left will be. I have predicted before that the center-left will be dominant in American politics for the next several decades due to demographic, cultural and generational change in U.S. society. It is widely predicted that the non-white populations will collectively outnumber whites in the U.S. by the 2040s. As the non-white population grows due to demographic trends and large-scale immigration, and as class divisions widen, there is likely to be a split within liberalism between the mostly white, upper middle class, cultural progressives and the mostly black and Hispanic lower classes, which include many persons with more conservative views on social questions like gender roles, abortion, homosexuality and religion.

A Zogby poll taken last year concerning the level of public sympathy for the matter of secession indicated that the principal source of support for genuinely radical ideas (like separatism) comes not from the “far right” or backwoods militiamen but from young, unemployed, uneducated blacks and Hispanics in the heavily populated areas of the U.S.. In a few decades, the crumbling U.S. empire and its liberal-capitalist-multiculturalist elites and affluent classes may well be facing an insurgency by the expanded non-white underclass. There are an estimated one million urban gang members in the U.S., mostly blacks and Hispanics, and these are organized into thousands of armed groups. Are these not a domestic American version of the “fourth generation” insurgent movements that exist in other parts of the world like Latin America or the Middle East?

What will be the condition of American society in the decades ahead as the liberal-capitalist-multiculturalist ruling class begins to lose its grip and is faced with an insurgency by the black and Hispanic underclass? What should be the response of the mostly white anarchist movement to such a turn of events? How should the anarchist movement seek to handle such a scenario? Play your cards wrong and you’ll end up in a situation infinitely worse than that faced by Crimethinc.

The anarchist milieu needs to re-think its positions concerning racial matters. Continuing to perpetrate anti-racism hysteria year after year, decade after decade, is a dead end. There is zero evidence that such a stance will bring the masses of North American blacks and Hispanics into our ranks, and much compelling evidence that such efforts are futile, foolish and counterproductive. For many years, the anarchist movement’s obsession with “social issues” has been a distraction from what ought to be the primary objective of anarchism, i.e., the abolition of the state. This is not to say that anti-statism is the only value, or that anarchists should not be concerned with other matters. It does mean that a more constructive stance on certain questions should be pursued.

For one thing, it might be helpful if anarchists would display an interest in issues other than run of the mill left-wing causes like those involving race, gender, sexual orientation, ecology and the like. Why are anarchists not involved in the movement for the defense of the right to keep and bear arms? In a sensible anarchist movement, there would be anarchists sitting on the board of directors of the National Rifle Association. Why are anarchists not involved in the various movements for local or regional autonomy, or secession by states and communities? Certainly, such efforts should fit well with the supposed anarchist emphasis on decentralization.

What might be a more sensible approach to racial and cultural differences than the hysterical approach currently taken? A venerable American tradition is one of “separation of church and state.” This is a tradition that has worked quite well throughout U.S. history. Individual Americans are largely free to practice or not practice whatever religion they wish. Yes, fringe religious groups like the Branch Davidians are sometimes subject to persecution. Yes, state laws such as the ban on the use of psychedelic drugs impedes powerless groups like certain indigenous tribes from practicing their religion. Yes, children from sects whose tenants prohibit certain medical practices are sometimes forcibly subjected to such practices. Yes, religious do-gooders sometimes wish to use the force of the laws to suppress activities deemed immoral, like gambling, vice or alcohol. But for the most part, most people practice their religion or non-religion of choice most of the time with very little interference from either the state, or from society at-large. Compare this with the situation in, say, Saudi Arabia or North Korea, and it can be determined that “separation of church and state” is a system that works quite well. Research shows, for instance, that atheists are a minority group that is more widely disliked than any of the groups championed by the Left: blacks, immigrants, homosexuals, Muslims. Yet atheists, of whom I am one, are hardly an “oppressed minority” but an intellectually and culturally elite group who are heavily represented within the ranks of leading scientists, philosophers, academics, journalists, authors, artists and entertainers. As far back as 1910, Thomas Edison was able to proclaim his heretical religious views with to the New York Times with impunity.

I submit that the appropriate attitude for anarchists to take concerning racial and cultural matters is one of “separation of race and state” or “separation of culture and state.” Within such a context, all state legislation or regulation concerning race and culture would be eliminated, and individuals and groups would be able to engage in whatever racial or cultural practices they wished within the context of their own voluntary associations. Just as some religious organizations or institutions are very conservative or exclusionary in nature, and others are very liberal and inclusive, so might some racial or cultural organizations and institutions be similarly conservative or liberal, exclusionary or inclusive. For instance, the Anarchist People of Color and other like-minded groups could have their own schools, communities, neighborhoods, commercial enterprises and other institutions where white folks are verboten. Likewise, the Nation of Islam, Aztlan Nation, evangelical Christians, Mormons, paleoconservatives, or “national-anarchists” might also have their own homogenous communities as well. Feminists and queers might implement similar arrangments for themselves.

As I have said before, we need a “revolution within anarchism itself”. We need an anarchist movement that is not just an all-purposes leftist movement, but a movement that has abolition of the state as its central focus, and an approach to matters of race, culture, religion and so forth that is workable in a highly diverse society. This renovated anarchist movement would shift its focus towards the building of autonomous, voluntary communties, reflecting a wide assortment of cultural, economic or ideological themes, within the context of a wider pan-separatist ethos who principle enemy is the overarching state. It should be understood that severe and irreconcilable differences among different kinds of people will inevitably arise, and that such differences are best managed according to the principle of “peace through separatism.” As Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn observed: “The ideological and philosophical struggles, which can neither be suppressed nor made an organic part of the governmental machine, have to be relegated to the private sphere of society.”

Updated News Digest August 2, 2009 2

Quote of the Week:

“My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs) — or to ‘unconstitutional’ Monarchy. I would arrest anybody who uses the word State (in any sense other than the inanimate realm of England and its inhabitants, a thing that has neither power, rights nor mind); and after a chance of recantation, execute them if they remain obstinate!… Government is an abstract noun meaning the art and process of governing and it should be an offence to write it with a capital G or so as to refer to people… The most improper job of any man, even saints, is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.”

                                                                                                        –J.R.R. Tolkien

“The Left is the Establishment, the financial and cultural elite of the Western world support them, and all the SDSs, Indymedias, “antifascists,” and the rest are nothing but the managerial state’s militant wing, lackeys of the powerful as surely as were Pinkerton detectives.”

                                                                                                                     -Kevin DeAnna

Anarchism and Secession Walter Block interviewed by Lew Rockwell

The Power of Statelessness by Jakub Grygiel

America the Great…Police State by Gore Vidal

Professor Gates’ Arrest: There is a First Amendment Right to be Rude to a Cop by Harvey Silverglate

Obama’s Secret Police by Justin Raimondo

Neither Opportunism Nor Sectarianism: On Radical Strategies speech by the late Murray Rothbard

Praetorian Presumptions by William Norman Grigg

Tell Israel: Cool the Jets! by Pat Buchanan

There Is No Fix for the American Healthcare System by Thomas Naylor

Most Americans Oppose U.S. Role in Iraq and Afghanistan Wars AP Poll

The Disappearing Palestinian by Philip Giraldi

The Wall Street Journal Discovers Secession from Second Vermont Republic

The Biden and Clinton Mutinies by Alexander Cockburn

Searching for Enemies by Gabriel Kolko

The Bastards Never Die by Joe Bageant

I’d Rather Be a Farmer than a Stockbroker by Jim Rogers

Bill Kristol is a Lying, Scheming, Scam Artist, Scumbag by Glenn Greenwald

The Alternative Right and the Impossibility of Conservatism  by Kevin DeAnna

What If the Right Becomes the Antiwar Party? by Marcion

Full Spectrum Dominance by Thomas Naylor

Beyond the Palin by Rick Pearlstein

Economism in the Alternative Right by Patrick J. Ford

Microstate Madness in Europe by Chirol

Decentralization for Socialists by Brian McClanahan

Americans Don’t Trust the Federal Government by Steven Thomma

The Superpower Conceit by Justin Raimondo

The Holocaust and Israel’s “Re-Establishment” by Jack Ross

The Walls Came Tumbling Down by Kevin Carson

The PIGS Keep On F***ing Up from Rad Geek

Right-Wing Jingoist “Christians” Are Bloodthirsty Assholes by Francois Tremblay

My Experiences as a Working Class Anarchist by Terry Morgan

Proudhon on Profit from Francois Tremblay (you may need Babelfish for this one if you don’t read French)

Post-Race Scholar Yells Racism by Ishmael Reed

Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics by Paul Craig Roberts

PIG Shows His True Attitude Towards Those Whom He Serves and Protects from Austro-Athenian Empire

The Honduran Coup and the Clinton Connection by Justin Raimondo

The Recession is Finally Over-Not! by Peter Schiff

In Praise of the Heroic Pashtun by Tom Engelhardt and Juan Cole

Middle East Show of Farce by Jeff Huber

I Shouldn’t Read the News. I Really Shouldn’t. by Fred Reed

State-Capitalism in Britain by James Heartfield

Today, Henry Gates; Tomorrow, You by Kelley B. Vlahos

Cheney’s Plans for a Military Coup by Scott Horton

The Ten Commandments for Ambitious Policy Wonks by Stephen Walt

People Like Palin by Jack Hunter

Hate Crimes and Free Speech by Chris Clancy

The Politics of White Guilt  by Paul Gottfried

We All Stand Before Peltier’s Parole Board by Harvey Wasserman

Dismantling the Empire  by Tom Engelhardt and Chalmers Johnson

Bombing for a Juster World by Jean Bricmont

My Experiences with National Healthcare by Linda Schrock Taylor

Universities Face Economic Meltdown by Gillian Wee

The Last Knight of the Habsburg Empire by Jorn K. Baltzersen

The Green Rope-A-Dope by Walter Williams

China’s All-Seeing Eye by Naomi Klein

Will the Feds Declare Martial Law? by James Bovard

The Affirmative Action0cracy by Steve Sailer

The Monsters Underneath My Bed by Patroon

My Life as a Person of Color by Paul Gottfried

Afghanistan’s U.S.-Backed Child-Raping Police by Gareth Porter

U.S. Attorney General Denounces “Radicalization” of Americans by Jeremy Pelofsky

A Few Thoughts on the “Birthers” by Red Phillips

They Thought They Were Free

Updated News Digest July 26, 2009 Reply

Quotes of the Week:

“We anarchists do not want to emancipate the people; we want the people to emancipate themselves.”

                                                                                                                -Errico Malatesta

“We are bound first to imform ourselves concerning so great a matter as the revolt of millions of people- what they are struggling for, what they are struggling against, and how the struggle stands- from day to day…as best you can; and second, to spread this knowledge among others, and endeavor to do what little you can to awaken the consciousness and sympathy of others.”
                                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                          -Voltairine de Cleyre

Secession is the Future  An Interview with Kirkpatrick Sale

First Steps Taken to Implement Preventive Detention, Military Commissions by Glenn Greenwald

Unfashionable Nation-Building by Dan Phillips

Proudhon on Capital and Usury from Francois Tremblay

Anarchism, Class Struggle and Political Organization by Tom Wetz

Israel Jumps the Shark by Justin Raimondo

Anarchism and the Movement for a New Society by Andrew Cornell

Care Tactics: Weaponizing Human Rights by Chase Madar

A Compilation of Critiques on “Hate Crimes” Legislation from Infoshop.Org

Threatening Iran by Paul Craig Roberts

The Democrats: Fake Party of Compassion by Kevin Carson

Revolt of an Elite: On Henry Louis Gates by Elizabeth Wright

Prisoner Insurrection in Canada by Joe Warmington, Pete Fisher and Andrea Houston

Nine States Quietly Declare Their Independence by John Paul Mitchell

The Fiscal Ruin of the Western World by Ambrose Evans Pritchard

We Are in the Midst of an Economic Disaster by Gary North

The Masters of Perfidy: AIG and the System by Jeffrey St. Clair

Obama Escalates Afghanistan Quagmire by Patrick Krey

Living in a Police State by Dave Lindorff

The American Revolution Revisited by Chuck Baldwin

Eastern Europe and the Habit of Servitude by Justin Raimondo

The Unconscious of a Liberal by Jack Hunter

Invisible Iraq by Robert Dreyfuss

How to Argue Against Torture by Bernard Chazelle

Benjamin R. Tucker and Gertrude B. Kelly on Education by Libertarian Labyrinth

Blackwater Seeks Gag Order by Jeremy Scahill

“Humanitarian” Efforts Are Often a Pretext for Aggression by Paul J. Nyden

The Coup and the U.S. Airbase in Honduras by Nikolas Kozloff

Bush’s Third Term by James Joyner

The Technique of a Coup d’Etat by John Laughland

The Battle Begins: ATF vs the 2nd Amendment by Bryce Shonka

Obama’s Free Lunch is Over by Philip Giraldi

Back to the Future? Return to El Salvador by Clifton Ross

Obama’s Disappointing Secrecy by Benjamin H. Friedman

Previous Governments: To Prosecute or Not? by Michael Tennant

“A Damned Murder, Inc.” by Alexander Cockburn

Is America a Racist Nation? by Ian Huyett

The U.S. Has No Business Being in the Murder Business by Eric Margolis

A Victim of the System Needs Help (Update here)

Chinese Imperialism and Its Discontents by John Derbyshire

This Is Your Country on Drugs by Laura Miller

Why War in Afghanistan Is Futile by Malou Innocent

When Mark Levin Attacks by Jack Hunter

Is Food for Africa Working? by Brian Doherty 

Obama’s Court of Red Czars by Ilana Mercer

What Americans Can Learn From the British Experience with Surveillance by Jacob Sullum

Will the Republicans Save Us? by Laurence Vance

Never Believe Uncorroborated Police Testimony by William Norman Grigg

Uninformed Ingraham by Patrick J. Ford

Too Many Other People by William Norman Grigg

25 Scary Facts About Brainwashing by Jill Gordon

Cops Gone Wild by Dave Lindorff

Police State Wisconsin

Watch Who You Call Extremist by Steven Greenhut

Bruno: A Glimpse Into Zionism by Gilad Atzmon

Politicizing Crime by Daniel Coleman

Why More Atheists Than Anarchists? from Francois Tremblay

Forty Years in the Wilderness? 12

For some years  now, I have advocated for the anarchist movement in North America a change in direction from the course it has followed since the 1960s. Essentially, the general flavor of the anarchist milieu is one that expresses the same set of primary values as Marxists, social democrats and left-liberal Democratic Party activists, with the added qualification of “by the way, we’re also against the state as well.” A principal problem with such an approach is that it fails to distinguish political anarchism from run of the mill leftism. Furthermore, anarchism exists primarily as a kind of youth culture/subculture which focuses on a very narrow ultra-leftism and hyper-counterculturalism that inevitably has the effect of relegating political anarchism into a fringe ideological ghetto.

This is a situation that I have sought to change. I have done so by advocating a broader, more expansive approach for political anarchism than what the current mainstream of the movement will allow for. This effort has won me many highly sympathetic friends within the anarchist milieu, and many bitter enemies as well. In a recent and highly controversial essay, I argued for a “revolution within anarchism.” What I was calling for is the future advent of a “non-leftoidal” anarchist movement, meaning one that is more substantive, comprehensive and original in its approach, rather than simply championing the run-of-the-mill causes and issues favored by leftists and post-60s counterculturalists.

If one surveys most of the contemporary anarchist websites and publications, one typically sees persistent and predictable references to things like the evils of racism, sexism and homophobia, the villainy of pollution and cutting down trees, the need to be kinder to animals, the championing of unions and worker-related causes, the need for better health care and other things that any little old lady at a Democratic Party precinct meeting, liberal Methodist pastor or high school social studies teacher might be interested in. Added to this might be standard countercultural causes like publishing “zines,” alternative media projects, squatting, “Food Not Bombs,” vegetarianism or veganism, neo-pagan or New Age religions, transsexualism, hippie communes,  or punk music. Many of these are no doubt good causes or perfectly harmless activities, but it is questionable as to how much they really do to subvert “the System.” After all, the radicals from the 60s have for the most part been victorious on most of the issues that emerged during that time. But what has been the result? The military-industrial complex is larger and more expansive than ever before, and the empire more far-reaching and more overtly aggressive. The state is more expansive and repressive, and the police state and prison-industrial complex have emerged as major growth industries. The plutocracy has become ever more exploitive, and the socio-economic classes ever more polarized. And the “culture wars” have degenerated into battles within the middle class over symbolic issues like same-sex marriage.

I submit that anarchists in North America should strive to break the grip that the “60s model” of radicalism has on their own milieu and begin looking for new directions. In my previous writings, I have called for the development of an anarchist-led pan-secessionist movement with a strong populist orientation, and oriented towards the lower socio-economic orders, e.g., the lumpenproletariat, neo-peasantry, declasse’ sectors, lower petite bourgeoisie, respectable poor, sinking middle and so forth. Such a movement would champion “third way” economic tendencies beyond socialism or capitalism, with an emphasis on decentralization and the voluntary sector. There would be an across-the-board defense of civil liberties (defending both drug decriminalization and the right to bear arms, for instance) and irreconcilable cultural differences would be handled according to the model of “peace through separatism,” meaning groups like the feminist/gay Left or the Religious Right would have their own separate institutions, associations, communities, and, if necessary, entirely separate regions, with explosive cultural matters like the definition of marriage, abortion, capital punishment, the rights of children against their parents, educational practices, and immigration being determined according to local community standards. The emergence of such a movement would involve a situation where the independent Left, populist Right, radical Middle, underclass, lumpenproletariat, declasse’ sectors, radical ecologists, and racial-nationalists among the minority groups would naturally bend towards one another against the neoconservative/left-liberal establishment.

My own ideological perspective is, for all practical purposes, virtually identical to what one might find at a website like Infoshop.Org , with several important differences. One of these is my rejection of abstract internationalism in favor old-fashioned foreign policy isolationism. A similar policy has worked quite well for the Swiss and Swedes for generations, and an emphasis on strict neutrality in international relations is even more important in an era where “humanitarianism” is used as a justification and cover for imperialism. Second, the phenomena of what is called “political correctness” needs to be effectively and comprehensively challenged, given that this is the ideological superstructure of an emerging form of totalitarianism. Lastly, I wish to end the “culture war/race war” mentality common to many Leftists and Rightists alike, and deal with differences of religion, culture, race, ethnicity, language and so forth according to the principles of individual liberty, voluntary association, pluralism, meritocracy and peaceful co-existence where possible, otherwise decentralism, localism, secessionism, separatism, self-determination and mutual self-segregation. For holding such positions, I have gained many enemies, but I have also brought in new friends, allies, and ideological tendencies whose tenants overlap to a great degree with those of traditional anarchism. Just as those of us who opposed the Cold War were often accused of fueling Communism, so are those of us who today oppose the Culture War accused of fueling Nazism, fascism, racism and theocracy but, as has been said, “this too shall pass.”

A question that emerges from this discussion involves the issue of what sort of time frame we are looking at.  I prefer to use the “forty years in the wilderness” analogy, a reference to the biblical legend whereby the escaped Israelite slaves wandered in the wilderness for forty years before reaching the Promised Land. I will explain the relevance of this analogy shortly, but when considering such a matter it is important to recognize identifiable trends in U.S. politics. These include:

1) The two-party system has proven to be extraordinarily durable, and has survived for 200+ years since the founding of the Republic, with no significant alterations and in spite of many subsequent changes in American society of a monumental nature.

2) The state has persistently grown throughout U.S. history, with no significant rollback at any point, and will likely continue to do so in the forseeable future, particularly given the economic troubles that lie ahead. Depending on whose estimates one relies on, the U.S. state now consumes 35 to 40 percent of the GDP, and is capable of consuming still more, as the European social democracies demonstrate. Further, there is no real evidence that the public at large objects to this. Opinion research indicates that anti-statist ideologies like libertarianism and paleoconservatism are the least popular so far as ideologies somewhat connected to the political mainstream are concerned.

3) Demographic, cultural and generational trends indicate that the center-left and, consequently, the Democratic Party, will be the dominant force in American national politics in the decades ahead. It is also true that American domestic partisan cycles tend to run at 35 to 40 year intervals. The Democrats recently emerged victorious after Republican dominance since the late 1960s. The Nixon Republicans displaced the Democrats who had been dominant since the election of FDR in 1932, and FDR ended the Republican reign that had begun in the 1890s (with the exception of the disastrous Wilson presidency). If this trend has any meaning for the future, the current Democrat-dominated partisan cycle should begin to expire sometime in the 2040s, precisely the decade when Americans of non-European ancestry are expected to collectively become a demographic majority.

In other words, we should count on the center-left being dominant for the next 40 years or so, and we should plan on using that time to build up a revolutionary movement that will eventually displace the current center-left coalition that has emerged victorious with the election of President Obama. Of course, there are a lot of people who wish to unseat the present center-left ruling coalition from the Right, ranging from right-wing neocon Frumites to paleocon Buchananites to the “grassroots Republican” Palinites to the Religious Right, Libertarians, and so forth. However, it is unlikely that any of these elements will ever achieve anything more than marginal or temporary victories, as all of them represent forces that were once dominant in American society but are in a serious state of decline. Neoconservatism, for instance, is a degenerated form of Cold War liberalism and the Paleocon/Religious Right program of turning back the clock to the 1950s is something of a joke. That mainstream “conservatives” have found no one better than Sarah Palin to be their leader demonstrates what a joke their perspective is as well. The purpose of present day “conservatism” is not to gain political power but to attract listeners and viewers to talk-radio or FOX News (itself a product of the “dumbing down” of American culture) and to sell books by barely literate right-wing polemicists.

It is of the utmost importance that a genuine revolutionary movement identify the present and future center-left ruling coalition as the primary enemy. To focus on “right-wing conservatives” is foolish given that these represent the losing forces of history, e.g., the right-wing of the old-monied elite, proponents of archaic nation-state based nationalism, religious fundamentalists, opponents of the sexual revolution, the declining white middle class and so forth. Yes, Rush Limbaugh may be a fat-assed windbag who peddles jingoism in its crudest form, and Ann Coulter may be a sniveling cunt, but there is no evidence that the movement they represent will ever achieve comprehensive or enduring political power in the United States. Indeed, the Bush administration, with its grotesque ineptness, may well have been their last gasp. Even more foolish is the tendency of some in the anarchist movement to devote inordinate amounts of attention to “right-wing extremist” groups, e.g., the Ku Klux Klan, neo-nazis, skinheads, et.al. Nothing is more marginalized and irrelevant to the mainstream of American politics than these. Persistent battles between “racists” and “anti-racists” are as socially and politically productive as wars between one-percenter motorcycle clubs or crack-dealing, inner-city street gangs.

The correct historical model to draw on in the development of a 21st century revolutionary movement in North America is not the battle between the Left and classical Fascism in the 1920s and 1930s but the historic rivalry between the anarchists and the Communists, with the center-left and its ideology of political correctness now playing the role of the “new totalitarianism.” I submit that the anarchist movement in North America should adopt as its primary objective the development of a revolutionary movement to challenge the center-left from the left, with the goal of obtaining political pre-eminence once the center-left expires its historical utility. In other words, there should be an anarchist-led revolution in the United States sometime during the 2040s, and the interim decades should be a build-up period to that point.

American history informs us of how we might proceed. Given the historic durability of the two-party system, it is worth noting that the only disruptions of that system were the replacement of the Federalists with the Whigs, and the subsequent replacement of the Whigs with the Republicans prior to the U.S. Civil War. Given that the Democrats are likely to be the ruling party over the next few decades, the aim of the revolutionaries should be to eventually replace the Republican Party with a yet to be named or thoroughly defined revolutionary coalition/organization/federation of some kind.

It is also worth noting and rather ironic that the only “near miss” as far as rolling back the perpetual expansion of the Leviathan state in U.S. history was the attempted Southern secession of 1861, which the Republican Party was formed primarily to prevent. Given that the two largest revolutionary events in U.S. history were the secession by the 13 colonies from Britain and the attempted Southern secession from the Union, it makes sense that a continuation of the American secessionist tradition should be our primary strategic tool. There is also the question of how to best go about formulating propaganda whose purpose is to shift popular opinion in our direction. As anarchists, we can quote Bakunin, Kropotkin, Goldman, Proudhon, Spooner, Tolstoy, Stirner, Nock, Rothbard, Bookchin or Chomksy within our own circles all we wish. The fact that remains is that most Americans don’t know and don’t care about such things. What they do know is the American populist revolutionary tradition that extends back to Jefferson and the Declaration Independence. In other words, we anarchists should follow the lead of Voltairine de Cleyre and work to fuse anarchism with American radical traditions in a way that makes sense to the ordinary person.

The need to abandon conventional “culture war/race war” psychology cannot be emphasized strongly enough. This does not mean that anarchists, the majority of whom identify with the left on social and cultural matters, should abandon their own ideals, interests or preferences. For instance, the majority of anarchists probably take a favorable view of the “immigrants’ rights” cause. Because immigration is a highly divisive social issue within the ranks of the poor and working class, I have advocated simply decentralizing immigration policy to the local level. This means that some localities might have the ultra-liberal immigration policies of contemporary “sanctuary cities” and others might take a position more like the contemporary Minutemen. In a community where the prevailing opinion on immigration was rather “conservative” in nature, left-wing anarchists could still agitate for an alternative point of view if they wished, vote against an anti-immigration referendum, etc. Nevertheless, it remains true that a wide assortment of demographic groups commonly identified with the “cultural right” will likely come under increasingly severe attacks from the state in the decades ahead. What we anarchists should say to the Right is this: “You rightists will get a better deal from us than with the totalitarian Left. We will defend you against attacks from the state. We will uphold the right to bear arms, free speech, educational freedom, freedom of association, and freedom of religion. We will shut down the police state. We will recognize your political sovereignty in those communities where your perspective is the prevailing sentiment. We will uphold the economic interests that you share in common with others.”  It should not be difficult to connect and form alliances with a wide variety of rightist factions against the common enemy in the central government given that states’ rights and local sovereignty are venerable American traditions of the kind which conservatives are the ostensible champions.

The center-left will eventually collapse as it begins to fracture along various lines. As political correctness becomes more deeply entrenched in American society, it will have fewer and fewer inhibitions about showing its fangs. As the role of the Israel lobby in U.S. foreign policy becomes increasingly exposed, the center-left will fracture along pro-Zionist  and anti-Zionist lines. As the immigrant and non-white population expands and becomes more powerful, racial and ethnic divisions on the Left will become more obvious. Other contributing factors to the eventual demise of the center-left ruling coalition will be growing class divisions, ideological differences among the left (multicultural vs universalism), the incompatibility of some of the left’s constituent groups (socially conservative blacks and homosexuals, for instance), the decline of the traditional Right as a common enemy and unifying force for the center-left, and the economic bankruptcy of the welfare state. Ultimately, the greatest fault line will be between upper middle class, white, liberals mostly concerned with social issues like gay rights, abortion rights, environmentalism and secularism, and lower class, mostly black and Hispanic, radicals concerned with class and economic issues, framed as racial and ethnic issues.

Over the next twenty years or so, anarchists should work to re-orient their movement away from a narrowly focused ultra-leftism and towards the broader pan-secessionist, decentralist populism I have outlined here. This will be achieved by those anarchists who already hold a similar position agitating for such ideas in the anarchist milieu and eventually gaining positions of leadership as the older ways become increasingly archaic. Once again, this does not mean that anarchists should necessarily abandon many of the projects with which they are currently involved. It means simply expanding the horizons of the anarchist milieu, appealing to a wider variety and larger number of people, and tackling a wider assortment of issues.

Once the project of re-orienting the anarchist movement towards becoming a more effective fighting force is achieved, the next step will be to work to gain political preeminence at the local and regional level for the ultimate purpose of overturning the present and future center-left ruling coalition, and doing so in a way that involves radical decentralization of power to the lowest possible level. This does not mean that decentralization is the only value. There are currently many worthwhile projects that anarchists are involved with ranging from assisting the homeless, to agitating for the living wage, to prisoners’ rights, to alternative schools, to solidarity with the Palestinians, Tibetans and oppressed people in other parts of the world. This does not mean that any particular set of anarchists needs to abandon their preferred set of cultural values. What I am simply proposing is that irreconcilable cultural differences be handled according to the model of “peace through separatism” as opposed to civil war, persecution, subjugation or oppression. Some rural counties may not allow abortion and some liberal enclaves may not allow handguns or smoking in bars. Some science academies may discriminate against creationists, and some churches may discriminate against feminists and homosexuals. Some schools may teach Afro-centrism and some may teach Euro-centrism. Some neighborhoods may exclude outspoken racists and others may exclude drug dealers or vice merchants. Such is an inevitability in a highly diverse civilization of hundreds of millions of people.

As to where those anarchists already committed to an outlook such as the one I’ve outlined here should begin, I would suggest that anarchists of this type begin infiltrating larger organizations for the purpose of gaining leadership positions. For instance, most of the current “third party” organizations are politically worthless, and there has never been a genuinely successful third party in U.S. history. However, these parties might well be captured by the anarchist movement and combined into a federation of more authentically revolutionary organizations, with their own infrastructure, social services, schools, media, militia and so forth, perhaps on the model of Fourth Generation entities like Hezbollah. It is these institutions and organizations that should replace the state once the present ruling class crumbles.

Updated News Digest July 19, 2009 1

Quote of the Week:

“Whoever looks at America will see: the ship is powered by stupidity, corruption or prejudice.”

                                                                                     -Johann Most

The Myth of the Rule of Law by John Hasnas

Carter Conservatism by Sean Scallon

Ten Lessons on Empire by Stephen Walt

What Economy? There’s Nothing Left to Recover by Paul Craig Roberts

Remembering the Great William Appleman Williams by Greg Grandin

The Rise of the Red Tories from The Other Right

WW2: Unnecessary War, Unnecessary Empire Pat Buchanan interviewed by Scott Horton

This Is Your War on Drugs from Mother Jones

“It Is by Their Principles, Religious or Philosophical, That Societies Live” by Pierre Joseph Proudhon

Republicans: The Fake Party of Small Government by Kevin Carson

The American Police State by Judge Andrew Napolitano

America’s White Underclass by Joe Bageant

Communist America by Jim Rogers

Where Have All the Progressives Gone? by Kevin Annett

The Secession of Bay Beach Way by Dana Tyler

A Distributist View of the Economic Crisis by Allan Carlson

No to Obamacare by Dr. Thomas Szasz

Why Only 50 States? We Should Have More of Them by Russell Arben Fox

What is Antipsychiatry? by Dr. Thomas Szasz

Fear and Tyranny by Brian Hoostal

World Military Expenditures by Francois Tremblay

Nowhere, USA by Bill Kauffman

Poverty Draft? by Mickey Z.

America is Sinking Fast by Pat Buchanan

The Crime Lords of Wall Street by Matt Taibbi

Don’t Let Them Disarm You by Chuck Baldwin

Palinomania and Sanfordphobia by Paul Gottfried

“I’m Just Following Orders” by Francois Tremblay

Green Into Red: Environmentalists Urging Workplace Takeover

Is Military Service Honorable? by Fred Reed

Far from the Sea of Tranquility by Tom Piatak

Justice Has a Huge Blind Spot from Murphy’s Bye-Laws

Who Should Have a Date with the Hangman? by Butler Shaffer

Malaise in Retrospect by Dylan Hales

Carter Conservatism and Contrarian Conservatism by Kevin DeAnna

The Deflating Economy by Mike Whitney

The High Crimes of U.S. Presidents by Jack Douglas

Brief Notes on Social Subversion in the 21st Century by Signalfire

The Virtue of Mutiny by Laurence Vance

Protest U.S. Aggression by Ron Jacobs

Icy Smiles for Obama in Moscow by Eric Margolis

2084 by Justin Raimondo

The American Empire of Blood is Doomed by Mike Rozeff

Twittering Revolutionaries by Philip Giraldi

Women Commandos in Iran by Robert Dreyfuss

On Tribalism  by John Robb

Death of Michael Jackson More Important Than 1 Million Iraqi Dead by Kurt Nimmo

Cheney Sweats Out the Summer by Ray McGovern

Car Wash Fundraiser from Bay Area National Anarchists

Danish Hell’s Angels vs Criminal Gangs from Gates of Vienna

Comparing Zionists to Nazis May Be Criminalized in Britain by Leon Symons

What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been by Sam Baldwin and Daniel Luzer

Obama’s War Signals by Justin Raimondo

Bush and Cheney’s Sinister Lawlessness by Ivan Eland

Mr. President, Why Are We Still Torturing? by Nat Hentoff

The Real Purpose of Affirmative Action by Richard Spencer

Watch What We Say, Not What We Do by Alexander Cockburn

On the Preston Affair by Jeremy Weiland